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ERIC Number: EJ870478
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 45
ISSN: ISSN-1744-9642
Education and the Possibility of Outsider Understanding
Bridges, David
Ethics and Education, v4 n2 p105-123 Oct 2009
In education issues to do with insider and outsider understanding arise in debates about religious education and about certain areas of research, and in argument about education for international understanding. Here I challenge the dichotomy between insider and outsider, arguing that a more collectivist view of human identity combined with elements of "the self which we share with our fellows" means that we always stand in part as an insider and in part as an outsider in relation to others. I argue further that "understanding" needs always to be thought of in the plural, as a matter of "understandings", since members of any community, and even any one individual, have different understandings at different times. Against what may seem the strong case in favour of the superiority or exclusivity of insider understanding, I note the force of claims in a variety of theoretical traditions (expressed notably in the Marxist tradition in the notion of "false consciousness" and in psychoanalytic attention to the unconscious) concerning the limitations of the exclusively insider perspective and in contrast the particular authority of the outsider perspective. Finally, I acknowledge the discomfort with which people respond to outsiders' claims to understand them, especially where such understanding fails to support their own self-understanding, and identify ethical considerations, which might shape sensitive negotiation between insider and outsider perspectives. (Contains 6 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A