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Karlsohn, Thomas (2004)
Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
Journal: Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy
Languages: English
Types: Article
This paper addresses some specific questions concerning the historical understanding of Johan Friedrich Herbarts ideas on pedagogy. The theoretical approach, adopted is found in Friedrich Kittler's work Discourse Networks 1800/1900 (1985). Kittler's theory can be seen as a development of media theory in the tradition from Marshall McLuhan, but it is also deeply dependent on the works of Michel Foucault. The latter influence is underlined by the fact that Kittler to large extent stresses the importance of pedagogy in the establishment of the modern subject. Pedagogical ideas around 1800 are essential in Discourse Networks. But, nevertheless, Kittler's work lacks any references to Herbart. Therefore this paper sketches some possible answers to the question of how Herbart could be understood in the light of Kittler's work. After a brief introduction to the main components of Kittler's general theory the paper goes on to focus the essential role of pedagogical theory and practice around the year 1800. Changes in the field of pedagogy constituted, according to Kittler, the fundamental condition for the emergence of the romantic experience of an inner poetic voice, and also for the conception of Geist (spirit) in idealistic philosophy. Furthermore these changes—in which a new notion of woman and of motherhood are the most important results—are crucial in the forming of the new public official and in the establishment of the modern state. Such components are in Kittler's work interrelated in a complex system of information processing, called the discourse network of 1800.

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