Learning and Bildung in Times of Globalisation – Study Circle 2018-2020

Learning and Bildung in Times of Globalisation – Study Circle 2018-2020

Summer Session 2020 – Final Program
Winter Session 2020 – Final Program and CFP : Re-thinking education: alternatives to existing educational orders
Summer Session 2019 – Preliminary Program and CFP : Citizenship, Bildung and Critique
Winter Symposium 2019 University of Bergen – Preliminary Program
Summer Session 2018 – CFP : The question of Learning and Bildung in time of Globalisation
Winter Session 2018 – CFP : The question of Learning and Bildung in time of Globalisation
Ad hoc. Learning and Bildung in the time of globalization 2017


The aim of the study circle is to rethink and reframe education, learning, edification and cosmopolitics in light of globalization, cultural diversity, world citizenship, alterity, heterological thinking and new concepts of peace and cultural sustainability, both from western and non-western perspectives.


The study circle will be organised around five major themes.

Theme 1. Global/world citizenship and intercultural and transcultural education

Many contemporary educational thinkers emphasize the importance of global citizenship and intercultural and transcultural Education. Wolfgang Klafki has for example argued for a form of edification for global citizenship, stressing that critical-constructive edification has to take into consideration global and epochal key problems and challenges as peace, mutual global understanding and ecological and technological challenges. The task is here twofold: How can one critically examine existing (mainly neoliberal, but also other) prevalent orders of educational and political discourses and at that same time critical-constructively relate learning and edification to emerging epochal issues, challenges and possibilities at both practical and theoretical levels (i.e. to integrate culture and context based meaning as the (missing) fourth pillar in the notion of sustainability in SDG2030). And how is one to resolve the tension between notions of human capability, the Anthropocene and relevant notions of history and capital (Chakrabarty), and more generally how to relate education and edification to new ways of conceiving relations between human and non-human domains.

Theme 2. Otherness, plurality and difference: educational models of alterity

Otherness, plurality and difference: However, the fact that we live in a postcolonial, late modern, or maybe even post-modern era that questions the Dialectics of the Enlightenment, further complicates attempts to develop modern ideas of edification related to global citizenship. Many contemporary thinkers have argued that we first now are beginning to realize that there are not only one rationality but many. Such themes have also found their way into educational theory. For example, Biesta inspired by various postmodern thinkers argues that the main issue in educational theory today is how we can respond responsively to, and how we can live peacefully with what and who is other.

Theme 3. Dialogue with non-western thinkers, ideas and thought, developing heterological thinking

Nevertheless, most of these contributions (Biesta, etc.) are primarily developed within one cultural framework, one rationality so to speak. Biesta and others claim that we have to understand Education, Bildung, and Learning in new ways, more transcultural, more interactive, more dynamic, more open, more trans-human, more world-orientated and so forth. However, Biesta and others refer only to Western ideas, thinkers, and thoughts, and therefore there seems to be a performative contradiction or at least a contradiction between what is said, the way it is said, and how one becomes able to say it. We want to argue that non-western thinking somehow is still an “un-thought,” a black hole, in contemporary thoughts about global education, despite good intentions. Biesta and others want us to appreciate intercultural education, intercultural edification (Bildung), world-orientated education, plurality, and difference and so forth, but they do not interact or think in dialogue with non-western thinkers, ideas, thought, and concepts.

Theme 4. Creation of alternative, cultural sustainable and peaceful educational orders

The notion of “reality” mentioned above should not only be seen as including “present actuality” of different worldviews. As indicated in theme1, the challenge is also to focus on emerging issues, problems and possibilities. Reality includes not only actuality and the given “orders” which situates that actuality. It also includes both conceivable and non-conceivable (from the perspective of the given order) potentialities (a point which is analyzed in depth in both modern philosophy and in peace and conflict studies). These potentialities, however, are real as they can function as motivating possibilities and are therefore crucial in relation to transformation and/or creation of alternative educational orders. This point is central in debates on educational policy and institutions as this means that policy is not only possibilities in given educational orders (and the larger orders the educational orders are embedded in). The notion of reality also opens up for questions regarding how orders (at different levels) emerge and disappears – educational politics are therefore also closely related to issues regarding aesthetics and the structures which allow and disallows different forms of “educational worlds.”

Theme 5. Institutional transformations of educational institutions, organizations, and structures

This will be helpful for explorative, action-oriented research into how the insights mentioned in theme 4 can be combined with institutional transformations of educational institutions, organizations, and structures. This can, for example, be development of new cross- disciplinary, cross-institutionalized and non-formal social forms of learning and edification processes.


Jesper Garsdal (Denmark)
Coordinator Study Circle 8
j.garsdal [at] gmail.com
Study Circle 8: Learning and Bildung in Times of Globalisation

Michael Paulsen (Denmark)
Coordinator Study Circle 8
mpaulsen [at] sdu.dk
Study Circle 8: Learning and Bildung in Times of Globalisation

Kerstin von Brömssen (Sweden)
Coordinator Study Circle 8
kerstin.von-bromssen [at] hv.se
Study Circle 8: Learning and Bildung in Times of Globalisation

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