The physicality of education

3 November 2007, 15:00 / Casco HQ

As part of Annette Krauss’s Hidden Curriculum this film screening and lecture look at the physicality of educational processes. 

Annette Krauss/Petra Bauer 
All the things I need to learn 

Thomas Alkemeyer/Thomas Pille 
The physicality of education. On the silent power of symbolic violence 

In most discussions on education the human body is not an issue. Its presence seems to be a self-evident fact which is not worth mentioning. Thus it is ignored that any form of education bears the traits of a physical training process, which forms a habitus. Anyone trying to reconstruct the different educational realities realistically, i.e. free from idealistic illusions, cannot do otherwise but take a closer look at their body-related practices, so that the incorporation of social categories – as pointed out by Bourdieu – becomes the center of ethnographic observations. This incorporation occurs through the medium of body movements in spatial environments which reflect social orders. Along with the practices taught as part of school curricula, i.e. attitudes, gestures and skills, students also acquire practical experience, ideologies and values as part of a “hidden curriculum,” which is objectified in the microcosmos of educational institutions. 

An analytical perspective focusing on the corporeality of education helps to re-interpret the interactions in educational institutions. In particular an analytical approach helps to make transparent the intrinsic symbolic violence of educational institutions. This form of violence is primarily targeted at those pupils whose ability to play along is insufficient due to their social background. These pupils are socially qualified on account of their corporeality and their “sense of play” (Bourdieu) – not only by teachers but also by schoolmates. For this reason it is important that future studies in social sciences of education give more attention to the importance of spatiality and materiality of educational institutions for the reproduction of social inequalities in everyday school life.

This activity is part of:

With others, Annette Krauss looks at unrecognized and unintended knowledge, values and beliefs that are part of the learning process in schools.

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