Exemplarity and alienation – revisiting the emancipatory project of the 1970’s educational philosophies

Projekter: ProjektForskning



Exemplarity and alienation – revisiting the emancipatory project of the 1970’s educational philosophies

Jakob Egholm Feldt, Roskilde University

Problem-oriented and/or project-based study practices are increasingly integrated into study programs at many universities as instruments of effective learning with high learning outcomes. In the 1970s though, problem-orientation and project-work was considered a practice of reclaiming the curriculum for both students and professors. In this paper, I will revisit the concepts of alienation and exemplarity as they were used in the Marxist inspired educational philosophies of Oskar Negt and Knud Illeris in the 1970s. At Roskilde University, Denmark (est. 1972), texts by Negt and Illeris played an important role for the concretization of problem-oriented project-based educational practices, which at the outset had the struggle against alienation and for student empowerment among its key aims. Today, it is worth revisiting these founding texts of problem-oriented project learning (PPL) in the light of recent discussions about the instrumentalization and learnification of higher education. Marxist wisdom had it that instrumentalization is the straight path to alienation, which is, in Freudo-Marxist terms, the basic cause behind disempowerment. One of the solutions to the problem of alienation in PPL was and is “exemplarity” considered as a study practice emphasizing longer term student immersion into cross-disciplinary projects dealing with an example of something generally important and relevant for themselves as well as for wider societal issues. In conclusion, I will discuss the current emancipatory prospect of reclaiming PPL from its own efficiency.

Ilan Gur-Ze’ev, ”Critical Theory, Critical Pedagogy, and the Possibility of Counter-Education”, Counterpoints, 1, 68, 2003
Knud Illeris, Problemorientering og deltagerstyring. Oplæg til en alternativt didaktik, Munksgaard, 1974 [Problem-orientation and participant directed teaching]
Knud Illeris, Modkvalificeringens pædagogik. Problemorientering, deltagerstyring og eksemplarisk indlæring, Unge pædagoger, 1981 [The Pedagogy of Counter-qualification]
Oskar Negt, Soziologische Phantasie und Exemplarisches Lernen, E.V.A, 1971
Effektiv start/slut dato01/03/201902/03/2020