Education and Collective Action -About Making Kin and Learning to Live and Die well Together Moving beyond -Grasping Posthumanism Education

If you want to read the PDF, try requesting it from the authors.


Only recently have posthumanist ideas been received in educational sciences-the international discussion addressed this topic earlier than the German discussion that is still shying back from critically revisiting topics such as animals and education, methodological approaches such as diffraction or thinking-as this chapter does-about kinship and collective action (Wimmer 2019). Even though the number of approaches to combine posthumanist ideas and educational sciences, education is not a term that is mentioned in glossaries that map the field of posthuman thought (Braidotti/ Hlavajova 2019). Additionally, the large variety of distinctive approaches that are subsumed under the label posthumanism is generally not discussed in educational sciences. Therefore, seminal approaches that try to offer a posthuman understanding of education lack an in-depth discussion of basic terms such as learning, education or subject. Even though talking about terms in a first step seems like a very conservative approach, defining terms and explaining phenomena is necessary to understand the complex formations and interpretations of posthumanism present in education studies, when one wants to maintain the integrity of both posthumanist theory and educational sciences. To do so, this chapter narrows down posthumanism to critical posthumanism. Critical posthumanism is the ongoing theoretical project that tries do decenter human beings in both theory and practice. The prefix post-following Herbrechter-has a double meaning: on the one hand, it signifies a desire or indeed a need to somehow go beyond humanism (or the human), while on the other hand, since the post-also necessarily repeats what it prefixes, it displays an awareness that neither humanism nor the human can in fact be overcome in any straightforward dialectical or historical fashion. (Herbrechter 2018a: 94) The critical in critical posthumanism tries to grasp the gesture of this approach: It raises questions, offers new ways of critique, and tackles the normalized conditions in both daily life and academia. The theoretical perspective of critical posthumanism integrates the lines of thought that only made its own emergence possible; instead of proclaiming posthumanism as the next (logical) step that serves all problems and is not comparable to other theoretical approaches, it situates itself in the history of thoughts and ideas also applying a critical perspective to the discourse that currently emerges around the signifier posthumanism. Therefore, critical posthumanism seems to be the most helpful approach to think about education and educational sciences. That is, because the problem with integrating educational

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... (Bryman, 2012, p.118), 'posthumanism' and 'Bildung'. I wanted to exclude results that focused on 'transhumanism' (and its relevant morphemes), since this is a term often used alongside posthumanism, but was not the focus of my enquiry (in short, transhumanism understands the capabilities of humans as unlimited and enhanceable, with no fixed 'lifetime' in which an individual human life can be said to end (Engelmann, 2020)). I furthermore wanted to include research that made specific mention to 'education' more broadly than just Bildung. ...
... The term 'critical' signifies an ethical-political commitment to analysing and addressing power relations at work in academic practice, as well as in the 'real world' (Braidotti, 2018). Critical posthumanism furthermore does not neglect the specific situatedness of human beings in the world in favour of privileging materiality or posthuman 'others' (Engelmann, 2020). Human beings are the addressees of such a conception, concurrently rejecting human exceptionalism. ...
Full-text available
This conceptual research aims to reconfigure Wilhelm von Humboldt's Bildung considering Donna Haraway's 'compostist' posthumanism. Three aspects of Humboldt's Bildung are identified and analysed: individuality, unity of nature and mind, and holistic knowledge. Posthumanism is narrowed to Haraway's 'compostist' conception, with the identified aspects: making kin as 'oddkin' and recognising Indigenous Knowledges. The main conceptual argument draws on these analyses to recast Humboldt's Bildung in the following ways: 1) individuality is understood in terms of ecological relationality; 2) the human mind and 'nature' 'become-with' one another in more dynamic interplay; and 3) holistic knowledge is revised to incorporate knowledges beyond 'Western' epistemologies. The paper aspires to open up a new horizon for Humboldt's Bildung, understood through Haraway's 'compostist' posthumanism. The resulting 'compostist' posthumanist Bildung has the potential to shape our formation to be compatible with living on a damaged planet and to lay the preliminary conceptual groundwork for addressing some of our times' most complex questions.
Full-text available
In times of ecological crisis Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) becomes more and more important. However, ESD mostly understands nature as a resource that must be catered to for securing the survival of mankind. This article criticises the anthropocentric foundation of ESD. Therefore, the article first introduces the concept of ‘making kin’ by Donna Haraway enriched with a critical discussion of subjectivity and agency by Judith Butler. Making kin describes a process that understands entities besides human beings as equal partners in action and symmetrical parts in networks of agents. Instead of understanding human subjects as the only nodes of power, Haraway grasps the social world as a string figure in which different knots are equally important for acting, living and dying together. Second, the article offers a re‐reading of Bernhard Heinrich Blasche's text Naturbildung, focusing on the process of making kin implicitly sketched out in this text. The German text from the 18th century is evaluated with regard to its understanding of nature and interconnectedness of life‐forms. I argue that Blasche's understanding of the human situatedness in an environment can be read as a predecessor to posthumanist understandings of nature, culture and agency. Finally, the paper connects the different threads and argues for a posthumanist understanding of love. Instead of love for the world, affectionate love in the world is not limited to human entities. A general understanding of love as the foundational principle of awareness, interconnectedness and situatedness is introduced that can enrich the discussion of pedagogical love.
In Vibrant Matter the political theorist Jane Bennett, renowned for her work on nature, ethics, and affect, shifts her focus from the human experience of things to things themselves. Bennett argues that political theory needs to do a better job of recognizing the active participation of nonhuman forces in events. Toward that end, she theorizes a “vital materiality” that runs through and across bodies, both human and nonhuman. Bennett explores how political analyses of public events might change were we to acknowledge that agency always emerges as theeffect of ad hoc configurations of human and nonhuman forces. She suggests that recognizing that agency is distributed this way, and is not solely the province of humans, might spur the cultivation of a more responsible, ecologically sound politics: a politics less devoted to blaming and condemning individuals than to discerning the web of forces affecting situations and events. Bennett examines the political and theoretical implications of vital materialism through extended discussions of commonplace things and physical phenomena including stem cells, fish oils, electricity, metal, and trash. She reflects on the vital power of material formations such as landfills, which generate lively streams of chemicals, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can transform brain chemistry and mood. Along the way, she engages with the concepts and claims of Spinoza, Nietzsche, Thoreau, Darwin, Adorno, and Deleuze, disclosing a long history of thinking about vibrant matter in Western philosophy, including attempts by Kant, Bergson, and the embryologist Hans Driesch to name the “vital force” inherent in material forms. Bennett concludes by sketching the contours of a “green materialist” ecophilosophy.
The use of philosophy in educational programmes and practices under such names as philosophy for children, philosophy with children, or the community of philosophical enquiry, has become well established in many countries around the world. The main attraction of the educational use of philosophy seems to lie in the claim that it can help children and young people to develop skills for thinking critically, reflectively and reasonably. By locating the acquisition of such skills within communities of enquiry, the further claim is that engagement with philosophy can foster the development of moral reflection and sensitivity and of social and democratic skills more generally. Claims like these provide a set of arguments for the inclusion of philosophy in the school curriculum that goes well beyond philosophy as just another curricular subject or body of knowledge. The aim of this article is to raise some questions about the conception of education that appears to inform the discussion about the educational use of philosophy. My ambition is to suggest an additional rather than an alternative view about the educational use of philosophy in the hope that this may act as a reminder of a different way in which one can engage with philosophy in educational settings which, in turn, might also act as a reminder of how philosophy might engage with us. The philosophical distinction in which my argument is phrased is that between humanism and post-humanism and the guiding educational concept is that of exposure.
Obra teórica de una sociología de las asociaciones, el autor se cuestiona sobre lo que supone la palabra social que ha sido interpretada con diferentes presupuestos y se ha hecho del mismo vocablo un nombre impreciso e inadecuado, además se ha materializado el término como quien nombra algo concreto, de manera que lo social se convierte en un proceso de ensamblado y un tipo particular de material. Propone retomar el concepto original para hacer las debidas conexiones y descubrir el contenido estricto de las cuestiones que están conectadas bajo la sociedad.
Transhumanismus und (Vergleichende) Erziehungswissenschaft
  • Karin Amos
Amos, Karin (2018). 'Transhumanismus und (Vergleichende) Erziehungswissenschaft`, in: Sabine Schenk. / Martin Karcher, eds., Überschreitungslogiken und die Grenzen des Humanen. (Neuro-)Enhancement -Kybernetik -Transhumanismus, Berlin: epubli.
Brennpunkt Bildungsreform -Die Perspektive einer Allgemeinen Erziehungswissenschaft
  • Sebastian Engelmann
Engelmann, Sebastian (2019b). 'Brennpunkt Bildungsreform -Die Perspektive einer Allgemeinen Erziehungswissenschaft', in: Nils Berkemeyer/Wilfried Bos/Björn Hermstein, eds., Schulreform. Zugänge, Gegenstände, Trends. Weinheim/Basel: Beltz Juventa.
Posthumanistische Grenzgänge an den Rändern des pädagogischen Sperrbezirks -Über Bildung ohne den Menschen
  • Sebastian Engelmann
Engelmann, Sebastian (2020, in press). 'Posthumanistische Grenzgänge an den Rändern des pädagogischen Sperrbezirks -Über Bildung ohne den Menschen', in: Patrick Duval/Manfred Oberlechner, eds., Neue Konzepte des Humanismus für die Schule von Morgen. Frankfurt am Main : Wochenschau Verlag.
Die Zerstörung des Subjekts im Zombie -von der Über-und Unterschreitung der Grenzen des Humanen
  • Katharina Froebus
Froebus, Katharina (2018). 'Die Zerstörung des Subjekts im Zombie -von der Über-und Unterschreitung der Grenzen des Humanen', in Sabine Schenk / Martin Karcher, eds., Überschreitungslogiken und die Grenzen des Humanen. (Neuro-)EnhancementKybernetik -Transhumanismus, Berlin: epubli. 2018.
Staying with the Trouble. Making Kin in the Cuthulucene
  • Donna Haraway
Haraway, Donna (2016). Staying with the Trouble. Making Kin in the Cuthulucene. Durham: Duke University Press.
Critical Posthumanism
  • S Herbrechter
Herbrechter, S. (2018a). 'Critical Posthumanism", in: Rosi Braidotti/Maria Hlavajova, eds., Posthuman Glossary. London/Oxford/New York/New Delhi/Sidney: Bloomsbury.
  • Ludwig Liegle
Liegle, Ludwig (2017). Beziehungspädagogik. Erziehung, Lehren und Lernen als Beziehungspraxis. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.
  • Janina Loh
Loh, Janina (2018). Trans-und Posthumanismus. Zur Einführung. Hamburg: Junius.
Posthumanist Education and Animal Interiority
  • Marla Morris
Morris, Marla (2015). 'Posthumanist Education and Animal Interiority', in: Nathan Snaza/John A. Weaver, eds., Posthumanism and Educational Research. New York/London: Routledge.
Researching the Posthuman. The "Subject" as a Curricular Lense
  • B Petifils
Petifils, B. (2015). 'Researching the Posthuman. The "Subject" as a Curricular Lense', in: Nathan Snaza/John A. Weaver, eds., Posthumanism and Educational Research. New York/London: Routledge.
Shimmer: When All You Love is Being Trashed
  • D B Rose
Rose, D.B. (2017). Shimmer: When All You Love is Being Trashed, in Anna Tsing/Heather Swanson/Elaine Gan/Nils Bubant, eds., The Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Eine posthumanistische Enthnographie der Schwangerschaft
  • Cornelia Schadler
Schadler, Cornelia (2013). Vater, Mutter, Kind werden. Eine posthumanistische Enthnographie der Schwangerschaft. Bielefeld: transcript.
Posthumanism and Educational Research
  • Nathan Snaza
  • John A Weaver
Snaza, Nathan and John A.Weaver (2015a) (Eds.). Posthumanism and Educational Research. New York/London: Routledge.
Introduction: Education and the Posthumanist Turn
  • Nathan Snaza
  • John A Weaver
Snaza, Nathan and John A. Weaver (2015b). 'Introduction: Education and the Posthumanist Turn', in: Nathan Snaza/John A. Weaver, eds., Posthumanism and Educational Research. New York/London: Routledge.
Posthumanismus: Die Enden des Menschen und seiner humanistischen Bildung
  • Michael Wimmer
Wimmer, Michael (2018). ‚Antihumanismus, Transhumanismus, Posthumanismus: Die Enden des Menschen und seiner humanistischen Bildung' in Sabine Schenk / Martin Karcher, eds., Überschreitungslogiken und die Grenzen des Humanen. (Neuro-)Enhancement -Kybernetik -Transhumanismus, Berlin: epubli. 2018.