Education and Selfhood: A Phenomenological Investigation

Michael Bonnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (SciVal)


Although effectively the idea of selfhood receives scant attention in much current educational policy, it is an idea that is central to understanding education in the Western tradition. This paper evaluates the implications of a growing movement in educational philosophy and theory to see the self as relational to the extent that it possesses little or no internally maintained steady identity and is constantly reconstituted by external agencies in a variety of ways. A well-worked-through view that draws on the work of Hannah Arendt and Emmanuel Levinas amongst others and that is taken to be representative of this wider movement is examined. It is argued that while important issues concerning the relationship between education and individual subjectivities are raised in ways that invite productive discussion, ultimately the decentred and de-nucleated conception of the self to which its argument leads is both phenomenologically untenable and educationally stultifying.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-370
Number of pages14
JournalJournal Of Philosophy Of Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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