EDUCATIONAL THEORY AS A WRITERLY PRACTICE


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Abstract

Educational theory does not oppose educational practice, as many seem to think; instead it is a form of practice and the action of theory exists at two levels. At a cultural level theory is characterized by linguistic forms of action and at a social level it is characterized by the day to day practices that organize and reward the work of producing educational philosophy. While the social practices that govern the production of philosophy certainly beg for ethnographic attention, any consideration anthropologists or philosophers give it will eventually find its way to the page and hence to the cultural forms of linguistic action that are the subject of this paper. Focusing on how educational philosophers see the things that they do, as opposed to what they see, I will suggest that the way educational philosophy is fashioned is an important part of what is fashioned. Ironically, as I will show, the “way” of educational philosophy can flow with or against the “what” of it–an author, that is, can say that they are for or against this or that, but their stylized way of saying it can contradict the literal meaning of their words.

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