ERIC Number: EJ944093
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 18
Cruelty to Compassion: The Poetry of Teaching Transformation
Kerr, Donna H.
Studies in Philosophy and Education, v30 n6 p573-584 Nov 2011
Two complementary bodies of literature either claim explicitly or imply that human cruelty is rooted in asymmetrical relationships. The first describes and analyzes various forms of domination and acquiescence, including colonialism, racism, imperialism, sexism, and interpersonal power dynamics, among others. The second attempts to describe what would constitute the antidote, namely symmetrical relationships of mutuality and equality. Both of these literatures counsel abandoning asymmetrical relationships in favor of the symmetrical. To the contrary, this paper argues that it is only in the context of asymmetrical relationships that humans can learn the basics of equality and mutual regard that undergird democracy. More particularly, the moral use of asymmetrical relations would be to help the young acquire, inter alias, the kinds of self-awareness and self-understanding that would enable them to function as responsible parties in symmetrical relations.
Descriptors: Interpersonal Relationship, Power Structure, Democracy, Altruism, Moral Values, Instruction, Poetry
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
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