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Between Educationalization and Appropriation

Between Educationalization and Appropriation: Selected Writings on the History of Modern Educational Systems

Marc Depaepe
With a Foreword by Marc Vervenne
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Leuven University Press
Pages: 496
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  • Book Info
    Between Educationalization and Appropriation
    Book Description:

    Advanced reader on the history of education Developments in educational systems worldwide have largely contributed to the modernization and globalization of present-day society. However, in order to fully understand their impact, educational systems must be interpreted against a background of particular situations and contexts. This textbook brings together more than twenty (collaborative) contributions focusing on the two key themes in the work of Marc Depaepe: educationalization and appropriation. Compiled for his international master classes, these selected writings provide not only a thorough introduction to the history of modern educational systems, but also a twenty-five year overview of the work of a well-known pioneer in the field of history of education. Covering the modernization of schooling in Western history, the characteristics and origins of educationalization, the colonial experience in education and the process of appropriation, Between Educationalization and Appropriation will be of great interest to a larger audience of scholars in the social sciences.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-071-8
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
    (pp. 5-10)
    Marc Vervenne

    Having a colleague and friend ask one to write a foreword for his scholarly book is a great honour. I have known Professor Marc Depaepe for many years: in the beginning at quite a distance, since he was one of the select company of star research professors appointed permanently through the Flemish Fund for Scientific Research in Belgium. These professors were, so to speak, “untouchable” and we, “the rank and file”, respectfully kept our distance. Marc Depaepe’s CV and academic bibliography offer convincing evidence that he is indeed an outstanding researcher. But to be serious, he is not aloof at...

  2. Introduction
    (pp. 11-16)
    Marc Depaepe

    As is explained in the Foreword by the former Rector of the KU Leuven, for which I am, of course, very grateful, this book has been published for mainly two reasons: a scientific and an educational one. A scientific one, because it gives a state of the art of my research and an educational one, because it can be used for teaching purposes in the international programs of our university, which wants to base its teaching on research.

    The title of this reader,Between Educationalization and Appropriation, refers to two key-concepts of my writings on the history of education. In...

  3. Part I: Starting from the Belgian case – from schooling to educationalization

    • 1 The School, Cornerstone of Modern Society
      (pp. 23-34)
      M. Depaepe

      It is not easy, within the limited space of this introduction, to paint a sufficiently finely-differentiated picture of the story of education. Nevertheless, we shall venture to do that in the guidebook for this museum. The idea we should like to emphasize is the central role played by the school in the modernisation of society. Given the broad reach of that process, we shall not adopt an exclusively Belgian or Flemish standpoint, and foreign visitors will have no difficulty in finding, both in the museum itself and in this museum guide, similarities with the history of education in their own...

    • 2 The Conquest of Youth: an Educational Crusade in Flanders during the Interbellum Period
      (pp. 35-60)
      M. Depaepe and F. Simon

      In Europe between the two World Wars, youth constituted a notable arena for the manifestation of social polarizations. From the 1920s on, the political scene shifted markedly to the right: theories of the New Order proclaimed the failure of parliamentary democracy, and in Italy Fascism (Mussolini in 1922) and in Germany Nazism (Hitler in 1933) acquired real political power. In both countries, an authoritarian state was established and war was proclaimed against the Red Peril of Communism. The youth, as the future cornerstone of the ideology and the regime, was assigned a central part in this process. Groupings attached to...

    • 3 The Feminization of the Teaching Profession in Belgium in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
      (pp. 61-88)
      M. Depaepe, H. Lauwers and F. Simon

      In the prologue to John L. Rury’s book,Education and Women’s Work. Female Schooling and the Division of Labor in Urban America, 1870–1930, published in 1991, Barbara Finkelstein writes: “The history of education is not rich in studies that combine an effusion of quantitative data, with equal portions of narrative elegance, biographical perspective, and attention to intellectual and spiritual as well as material dimensions.Education and Women’s Workis such a book.”¹ This affirmation is somewhat frustrating for the Belgian investigation into this topic.

      More or less at the same time, in our book about the social position of...

    • 4 The Sacralization of Childhood in a Secularized World: Another Paradox in the History of Education? An Exploration of the Problem on the Basis of the Open-Air School Diesterweg in Heide-Kalmthout
      (pp. 89-118)
      G. Thyssen and M. Depaepe

      The long list of questions issued by the organizers of this seminar is, we assume, primarily heuristic in intent. Rather than formulating a response to them all, therefore, we have concentrated on a single theme. It takes its relevance from the point of view of the discipline in which we as researchers have profiled ourselves, namely educational historiography. This contemporary variant of what was previously often termed “the history of pedagogy” still may be institutionally associated with the “educational sciences” but does not necessarily coincide with it as part of fundamental research². Rather than as the internal history of the...

  4. Part II: About the Educationalization… of the West

    • 5 Educationalisation: A Key Concept in Understanding the Basic Processes in the History of Western Education
      (pp. 121-138)
      M. Depaepe

      Long before there was talk of any ‘postmodernism’ in philosophy or in historiography, the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), with this citation from hisGenealogy of Morality,¹ pointed out that our perception of things – and thus also of the past – has always been colored by our perspective. Because we are biologically situated in a specific spatial (social and cultural) and temporal (historical) context, we can do nothing other than look from a specific standpoint (casu quo perspective) at what lies behind us. And since time always further blurs (and ultimately even erases or wipes out) the past, this...

    • 6 Dealing with Paradoxes of Educationalization: Beyond the Limits of “New” Cultural History of Education?
      (pp. 139-166)
      M. Depaepe

      Every scientific discipline – including the history of education – is continuously subject to change. This truism applies both to the knowledge generated within a particular field of research and to its didactic translation into a teaching subject. When the subject ofhistoire de la pédagogieentered the curriculum of Belgian university teacher training in 1890, the legislators had completely different objectives and content in mind than the ones we proclaim today (Depaepe, 1997a). That we ourselves no longer speak of “historical pedagogy” but of “educational historiography” (or “history of education”)¹ manifests this. The preference for educational history over pedagogy...

    • 7 Educationalization as an Ongoing Modernization Process
      (pp. 167-176)
      M. Depaepe and P. Smeyers

      In several Western societies we witness today an increasing tendency to “educationalize” social problems. As an institution, the school is, among other things, held accountable for solving social inequalities (related to class, race, and gender); for reducing traffic deaths, obesity, teenage sex, and environmental destruction; and for enhancing public health, economic productivity, citizenship, and even performances in sport contests such as the Olympic Games. Pushing these kind of “social” responsibilities on schools is a process that has been under way for a long time and coincides with the role of education in the formation of the modern nation-state. This phenomenon...

    • 8 About Pedagogization: From the Perspective of the History of Education
      (pp. 177-198)
      M. Depaepe, F. Herman, M. Surmont, A. Van Gorp and F. Simon

      For history researchers, it is not a needless luxury to consider from time to time the content and the significance of the basic concepts they use, certainly if they have the ambition to interpret and/or explain history in addition to purely describing it. This self-reflection, compelled by the annually recurring dialogue with educational philosophers (cf. Smeyers & Depaepe, 2006),² need not necessarily place an emphasis on philosophical abstraction but can just as well start from an examination of the history of one’s own research. Such an approach need not succumb to navel-gazing. Instead, such historical self-reflection possibly points to the creeping...

  5. Part III: The Colonial Context – From Educationalization to Appropriation?

    • 9 Belgian Images of the Psycho-Pedagogical Potential of the Congolese during the Colonial Era, 1908–1960
      (pp. 201-222)
      M. Depaepe

      It would be unfortunate if ISCHE, the international organization for the history of education, did not heed the colonial experience. Not only is this theme of research international by definition, it is also clearly an educational phenomenon of the first order: by means of education, the intention was to “convert” and to “civilize” the autochthons, which, willingly or unwillingly, was accompanied by the imposition of a number of elements of the “Western” way of life and thought.¹

      With these words in 1995, I rounded off the opening of the fifteenth ISCHE conference, which had been organised in Lisbon on the...

    • 10 Sometimes a Little Distance is Needed to See What Really Happened: The Study of the Belgian Educational Policy in Congo as an Example of the Critical Vigour of Colonial History of Education
      (pp. 223-240)
      M. Depaepe

      One of Jürgen Oelkers’ many merits is to have studied – as a generalist – the complex relationship between pedagogy, politics and practice in great detail, especially in relation to ›reform pedagogy‹ (or New Education) and its potential contribution to educational innovations (see, e.g., Oelkers 1991; Oelkers/Osterwalder 1999; Oelkers ³1996). Based on such a position, the ›relevance‹ of historical research in educational sciences, at first glance, does not seem very problematic. Scientific knowledge that is based on empirical analytical research as well as on philosophically and historically acquired insights is, from this point of view, essential for formulating the future...

    • 11 ‘Rien ne va plus …’ The Collapse of the Colonial Educational Structures in Zaïre (1960-1995)
      (pp. 241-264)
      M. Depaepe

      In a previous study the author and his co-author compared the educational project in the Belgian Congo (1908-1960) with a runaway locomotive that, in spite of all the good intentions, drove to self-destruction (Depaepe & Van Rompaey, 1995:225). What did we intend by use of this image taken from Emile Zola’s novelLa bête humaine(1890)? Rather than wanting to breathe new life into the stereotypical, often leftist-revisionist coloured discourse of the ‘missionary as an accomplice to a cohort that was out for economic profit’ (Rodney, 1976), we found that colonial educational historiography, more sharply still than Western educational history, exposes...

    • 12 How to Research Intercultural Hybridity of the Congolese Elite Through Education During the Postcolonial Era (1960-1997)?
      (pp. 265-280)
      M. Depaepe

      Recently, we have made at our university an application for a new research project. Although it is at the moment still uncertain whether we will have the money to carry out this research or not, we nevertheless do think that it can be helpful to share the content of our project with others, in view of fostering further research in this area.¹ As is explained in the following sections, postcolonial educational history in Congo is not well developed at all, let alone a specific topic like the intercultural hybridity in the formation of an elite by means of (secondary) education....

  6. Part IV: Appropriation Processes in Theory and Praxis

    • 13 How Darwinism Has Affected Catholic as Well as Non-Catholic Psycho-Pedagogical Constructs in Belgium from the 1870s to the 1930s
      (pp. 283-302)
      M. Depaepe, R. De Bont and K. Dams

      Two paragraphs before the end of his magnum opus,On the Origin of Species,¹ Charles Darwin predicted, on the basis of his findings as regards natural selection, a brilliant future for barely explored terrains in the study of man: “Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.”² Whoever glances in the literature that has appeared on the subject on the occasion of the second centennial of his birth can easily yield to the temptation that...

    • 14 The Canonization of Ovide Decroly as a “Saint” of the New Education
      (pp. 303-330)
      M. Depaepe, F. Simon and A. Van Gorp

      If any Belgian educator belongs to the canon of the New Education, it is certainly Ovide Decroly (1871-1932). Particularly in southern Europe and in many Latin American countries,¹ the ideas and the work of this French-speaking Brussels doctor have been inspirational for a movement that projected itself worldwide—albeit in different modes—as the “child-oriented,” “progressive” alternative to the rigid, traditional school.² As recent research has shown,³ this movement manifested itself primarily by means of the development of its own language and discourse in which the “new school” was projected into a “new” society. However, ultimately, it turned out that...

    • 15 Modern Architecture Meets New Education: Renaat Braem’s Design and the Brussels Decroly School (1946)
      (pp. 331-358)
      F. Herman, A. Van Gorp, F. Simon, B. Vanobbergen and M. Depaepe

      A number of ambitious and innovational plans were sketched in the course of the twentieth century for L’École Decroly l’Ermitage, a progressive school for “normal” children founded in 1907 by Ovide Decroly (1871-1932).¹ Among them were the 1946 plans of architects Renaat Braem (1910-2001) and Jack Sokol (1911-1977) and the 1972 design of theGroupe Brederode(cf. Figure 1).² The latter design dates back to the period in which the school, located on the edge of Terkamerenbos in Ukkel (south of Brussels), was threatened with expropriation because of the plans to expand the Brussels Ring.³ At this time, architects Emmanuel...

    • 16 The ‘Good Practices’ of Jozef Emiel Verheyen – Schoolman and Professor of Education at the Ghent University: A Case of Using Educationally Correct Discourse at the Right Place and the Right Time
      (pp. 359-384)
      M. Depaepe, F. Simon and A. Van Gorp

      In more than one article (Depaepe, 1998c; Depaepe, Simon & Van Gorp, 2003; Depaepe & Van Gorp, 2003), we have pointed out that, for an appreciation of the educational mentality and reality of the past, the study of the lesser stars in the educational firmament is more – or at least just as – important as that of the great figures. This principle is certainly applicable to Jozef Emiel Verheyen,¹ who, without ever having obtained a doctoral degree, was able to climb from primary school teacher to the professorial standard bearer of education at the University of Ghent (Depaepe, 1999; Depaepe, Dams...

    • 17 The Practical and Professional Relevance of Educational Research and Pedagogical Knowledge from the Perspective of History: Reflections on The Belgian Case in its International Background
      (pp. 385-406)
      M. Depaepe

      When the teacher’s technique is based on research, teaching will no longer be regarded as some black arts, but will assume the status not of a dismal science, but of a progressive and enlightened practice. (Rusk, 1932, p. 70)

      Apart from the academic frustration of educational research of the first half of the twentieth century, this expectation betrays the social task that ‘modern’ science of education has assumed for itself in the course of history. Scientific research into education has to contribute to the solution of all sorts of concrete problems from the practice of education and thereby, indirectly, to...

    • 18 Struggling with the Historical Attractiveness of Psychology for Educational Research: Illustrated by the Case of Nazi-Germany
      (pp. 407-432)
      M. Depaepe

      “La ciencia (…) consiste en un ‘prurito’ de plantear problemas”¹

      (José Ortega y Gasset, 1930/2001, 16)

      A few years ago, when we determined the themes for the upcoming meetings of the LeuvenResearch Community, I thought that there could be no easier task than that which lay before me at the moment: reporting on the history of the attractiveness of psychology for educational research. On the basis of my work in the history of educational science on the development of the empirical-analytical paradigm (Depaepe, 1993), it seemed that one could quite easily formulate a number of hypotheses with regard to...

  7. Part V: The Self-Concept of a Demythologized ‘New Cultural’ History of Education

    • 19 Demythologizing the Educational Past: An Endless Task in History of Education
      (pp. 435-450)
      M. Depaepe

      “My life in the history of education” – to borrow the title of a recent British series of scholarly autobiographies¹ – began with a lively interest in educational practice. I became interested in the organization of the subject-based grade-school system and wished to find its origins. This was an organizational form introduced for reasons not particularly educational, and it persisted chiefly because of the order and efficiency to which it gave rise.² My work was both a form of educational criticism and a demonstration of the relevance of the history of education to educational science, practice, and policy.

      In light...

    • 20 How Should the History of Education be Written? Some Reflections about the Nature of the Discipline from the Perspective of the Reception of our Work
      (pp. 451-462)
      M. Depaepe

      The title question, which was submitted to us by the guest editorial team ofStudies in Philosophy and Education, obviously has a high normative content. At first sight, that is rather remarkable, because the question about how it should be done contrasts sharply with the blurred norms that are prevalent in postmodern society, as well as with the plurality of opinions and views that are consciously cultivated there. Perhaps it is because in the field of the history of education, there are no longer any “eminent examples”¹ that the question is put explicitly? There too, a diversity of approaches prevails....

    • 21 The Ten Commandments of Good Practices in History of Education Research
      (pp. 463-470)
      M. Depaepe

      At the request of the editors, I am stating here briefly what are, for me, the most important rules of thumb of good practices in the history of education research. This I am doing on the basis of my many years of research experience as well as, on the basis of what I have published in several theoretical, methodological, and historiographical articles. I have called these guidelines, set down concisely in the form of propositions, somewhat provocatively «ten commandments» in the hope of stimulating a fruitful discussion. You can find these «commandments» as such at the beginning of the article....

    • 22 After the Ten Commandments … the Sermon? Comments on David Labaree’s Research Recommendations
      (pp. 471-476)
      M. Depaepe

      It was bound to happen. After some supposed authority boldly announces ten commandments for good research practices in his domain (Depaepe, 2010), another one suddenly pops up – in this case a ‘real’ authority – who cannot resist the urge to give a sermon on almost the same subject (Labaree, 2011). The historical but often repressed relationship between theology and pedagogy, repeatedly trumpeted by people like Fritz Osterwalder (2003), must have stuck in the subconscious of the historians of education. The religious metaphors prompted by the discussion about our opinion article (and which will undoubtedly resurface in comments on Labaree’s...

    • 23 Sources in the Making of Histories of Education: Proofs, Arguments and Other Forms of Reasoning from the Historian’s Workplace
      (pp. 477-496)
      M. Depaepe and F. Simon

      As we’ve often said in the past, historical research presents certain problems for the behavioural sciences. When we think about the history of education, can it, as the title of this book seems to suggest, be conceived of simply as a subdivision of educational research? And does the argumentative structure that is developed in this domain of knowledge automatically give rise to the construction of ‘one’, let alone, ‘the’ language of education? In our opinion, the history of education, if it wants to be valid, must in any event bear the stamp of what Michel de Certeau once called the...