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Theoria, praxis, poiesis

Individualization as the constitution of sociality
Volanen, Matti Vesa
978-951-39-4715-6; 1455-447X
University of Jyväskylä. Finnish Institute for Educational Research / Koulutuksen tutkimuslaitos
Research reports / Tutkimuksia (28)
2012

The main institutional structure of upper secondary education comprises two sectors: general education and vocational training. It also assigns young people to different social tracks in life. Our understanding of social individualization is intrinsically related to the division between Bildung and Beruf, education and vocation. The basis of this division is at the very heart of the process of social individualization, within the division between theoria, being, praxis, doing, and poiesis, making. The learning by making, not by doing, opens a new possibility to understand social individualization.

Philotechne - the love of craft - is an old idea, but has not been much cultivated by the lovers of knowledge, by philosophers. Philosophers have forgotten what to do with their hands. Craftwork binds the three basic questions of philotechne: What are things? How are things when they are in a good state? How can we produce them beautifully? In other words, epistemological, ethical and aesthetical questions are practical challenges combined in the collaborative work of the head, heart and hands. Craftwork is, at its best, educative work. We can use it as a methodological mirror to cross-enlighten modern industrial labour and its three cousins: science, politics and fine arts.

The questions and answers in this work are not empirical but practical in the sense of praxis. Moreover, the praxis in this work denotes institutional praxis with reference to the institutional duality of vocational and general upper secondary education and training. This is also an attempt to find a theoretical basis to overcome this division. Achieving this would at the same time open a new horizon in understanding how to write the curriculum and how to organize learning connected with liberal and vocational studies.

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