Theme: Education as a Critical Force -­ Myth or Reality?

Has critical pedagogy contributed to emancipation from unnecessary repression?

Or; has critical pedagogy first and foremost been used as the instrument to intensify the dominating tendencies in the development of society?

Has critical pedagogy performed other roles that need to be analysed and understood?

Karen Borgnakke considers critical pedagogy as a living myth and part of reality. She gives a comment to the theoretical dimension of the congress theme and analyses the tendencies in the present learning discourse and experiences from former critical educational practice.

Henning Salling Olesen looks at critical theory, both as a research strategy and as a research perspective. He puts the focus on the dynamic and contradictory aspects of socialisation and subjectivity, and opens up a dynamic concept of learning with an utopian dimension. The implications for research are mainly the need to bridge the gulf between individual subjectivity on the one hand and social objectivity on the other.

Anne-Marie Eggert Olsen uses the opportunity to celebrate the one hundred year anniversary of the birth of Theodor Adorno, September 11, 2003. She presents one of the central elements in Adorno's oeuvre, the constitution of the self, of the national ego, as a product of historical society. His idea was "that Auschwitz must no longer be possible". This is phrased as a moral demand, "nicht mitmachen", and a radical resistance against every kind of camp following, especially when at no cost to oneself. Therefore the ideals of education cannot be thought through without thorough reflection on the odds against their realization, and to propagate educational theories that promise the compatibility of norm and practice is in his view at best naïve.

The three researchers will together with Gert Biesta, University of Exeter, England; keynote speaker at the congress, comment and elaborate the congress theme and the three papers in a panel discussion Sunday 9th of March. It is our hope that the contributions in this special issue will highlight the congress theme and inspire the congress delegates to take part in the ongoing discussion about some of the core elements of philosophy of education.