ERIC Number: EJ1039478
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 20
Education as Free Use: Giorgio Agamben on Studious Play, Toys, and the Inoperative Schoolhouse
Lewis, Tyson E.
Studies in Philosophy and Education, v33 n2 p201-214 Mar 2014
In this essay, I argue that the work of Giorgio Agamben provides us with a theory of studious play which cuts across many of the categories that polarize educational thought. Rather than either ritualized testing or constructivist playfulness, Agamben provides a model of what he refers to as studious play--a practice which suspends the logic of both ritual and play. In order to explore this notion of studious play, I first articulate Agamben's fleeting remarks on the topic with an important problematic found in his early, literary work: transmission. If ritual transmits cultural traditions to ensure continuity with the past, and play as constructivist invention makes such transmission impossible, then studious play transmits transmissibility itself as a pure potentiality. Studious play accomplishes this peculiar educational task by suspending without destroying traditional things: laws, signs, and so on. I end the essay with a consideration of the ontological status of suspended things, arguing that they are transformed into toys via the action of study. Finally, I give a literary example of studious play found in Robert Walser's novel "Jakob von Gunten" in which the school itself is imagined to be a kind of toy.
Descriptors: Play, Toys, Educational Theories, Schools, Testing, Constructivism (Learning), Philosophy
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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