Department of Culture and Learning

Keynote speakers


professor Pirjo Markkola

Tampere University, Professor of History, Co-director of the Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences

Title: Education as Lived Welfare. A History of Experience Perspective on Children and the Welfare State

The concept lived welfare state provides a new approach to the building, legitimation, success and failures of the welfare state. Welfare states are constructed both in political decision making and in the everyday practices of welfare state institutions, such as the educational system. In daily life, welfare states materialize through the ways in which children experience their school system. ‘Experience’ refers to a theoretically and methodologically conceptualized study of human experiences, not to study of ‘authentic’ or ‘essentialist’ experiences. Children’s encounters with their teachers and the school system give shape to their individual and collective ways of experiencing the welfare state. In my presentation, I would like to emphasize the process of experiencing, i.e. the varying preconditions, factors, and possibilities shaping past experiences among children in the Nordic welfare states.

Key words: Lived welfare state, history of experiences, education, childhood, citizenship, Nordic model, historical justice.

Professor Dr. Daniel Tröhler

Department of Education, Foundations of Education, University of Vienna

Giving Language to Taboos: Nation and Religion in Modern Educational Reasoning 

Like all taboos, nation and religion are so powerful precisely because they are often not brought to language. As a rule, educators around the world see themselves as secular, not religious, and rational, not national, and they develop their elegant, moral, and bland arguments precisely on this premise. This is, of course, capable of gaining majority support because it keeps the sociological machinery of educational thinking stably alive, but epistemologically it is unsatisfactory.

Educational reasoning is sometimes as elegant as the freestyle of a virtuoso ice skater, sometimes as captivating as a rhetorically gifted village preacher, sometimes as clumsy as a plow horse that thinks it is a dressage horse. Some are the stars in the arena of academic education, others the moralizers, and others the bland extras. This rather simple sociology of educational reasoning emphasizes the different roles that Academics occupy in what Ludwik Fleck (1935) called a “thought collective,” but it obscures that “thought collectives” share common “thought styles” in which, often carefully administered by national professional associations, truth is produced. In education, these “thought collectives” – and this is the thesis of this paper – have historically been shaped by two fundamental elements. They are veritable taboo subjects, which are presupposed but hardly ever reflected upon, namely religion and nation. The paper therefore undertakes to give language to these taboo elements in the history of the collective of educational thought and asks what educational thinking can be when it takes into account its own thinking presuppositions.


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