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Deneurologizing education? From psychologisation to neurologisation and back

De Vos, Jan ORCID: 2015. Deneurologizing education? From psychologisation to neurologisation and back. Studies in Philosophy and Education 34 (3) , pp. 279-295. 10.1007/s11217-014-9440-5

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The long standing reign of psychology as the privileged partner of education has, arguably, now been superseded by the neurosciences. Given that this helped to drive the emergent field of neuroeducation, it is crucial to ask what changes in education, if anything does in fact change, when the hitherto hegemonic psychologising discourse is substituted for a neurological one. The primary contention of this paper is that with the neuro-turn a process of “neurologisation” has also been initiated, which can be analysed by taking into account its genealogical predecessor, psychologisation. In doing so, I argue, one ultimately discerns a primordial incompatibility between education and neuroscience, one that can be traced back to the fundamental and problematic reflexivity of modern subjectivity itself, which the discipline of psychology was never able to wholly resolve. From here, I proceed with the argument that while the eagerness of the psy-sciences to embrace neuroscience testifies to how much psychology needs neurology (weak psychology, strong neurology), the neurosciences are structurally incapable of disconnecting from the paradigms of the psy-sciences (weak neurology, strong psychology). Following on from this proposition, other strong/weak factors are brought into the equation: strong/weak nature, strong/weak culture, strong/weak subjectivity and, most pertinently, strong/weak education. Finally, the critical question becomes: if education in itself needs to take recourse to both the psy-sciences and the neurosciences, then how can we begin to account for the fact that these sciences invariably end up becoming captured within educational discourses themselves; that is, the fact that teachers, parents, and pupils themselves are taught the key insights of neuropsychology.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
ISSN: 0039-3746
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2022 10:16

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