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Derrida, Deconstruction, and the Politics of Pedagogy


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The Authors: Michael A. Peters (mpet001@uiuc.edu) is Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He completed his Bachelor's degree in English Literature and an honors degree in Geography, before attaining a teaching diploma and thereafter teaching in New Zealand high schools for seven years, the last two as head of department. While teaching, he completed a major for a Bachelor of Science in Philosophy and returned full time to complete his Master in Philosophy, with first class honors, and Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education, with a thesis on the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. He has just completed a second book on the subject entitled Wittgenstein as Pedagogical Philosopher (2008) with Nick Burbules and Paul Smeyers. He held a personal chair at the University of Auckland, NZ (2000-2003) and was Research Professor at the University of Glasgow, UK (2000-2005), as well as numerous posts as adjunct and visiting professor throughout the world. He is the executive editor of Educational Philosophy and Theory and editor of two international e-journals, Policy Futures in Education and E-Learning, and sits on the editorial board of over fifteen international journals. He has written over thirty-five books and three hundred articles and chapters, including, most recently, the following: Global Citizenship Education (2008), Global Knowledge Cultures (2007), Subjectivity and Truth: Foucault, Education and the Culture of Self (Peter Lang, 2007), Why Foucault? New Directions in Educational Research (Peter Lang, 2007), Building Knowledge Cultures: Educational and Development in the Age of Knowledge Capitalism (2006), and Knowledge Economy, Development and the Future of the University (2007). He has strong research interests in distributed knowledge systems, digital scholarship, and e-learning systems and has acted as an advisor to government on these and related matters in Scotland, New Zealand, South Africa, and the EU. Gert Biesta (www.gertbiesta.com) is Professor of Education at the Stirling Institute of Education, University of Stirling, Scotland, UK, and Visiting Professor for Education and Democratic Citizenship at Orebro University and Malardalen University, Sweden. He conducts theoretical and empirical research and is particularly interested in the relationships between education, democracy, and democratization. He has published on the philosophy and methodology of educational research; relationships between research, policy, and practice; theories of education; democratic learning in everyday settings; vocational education and lifelong learning; teachers' professional learning; and the civic role of Higher Education. His recent books include Derrida & Education (coedited with Denise Egea-Kuehne; 2001), Pragmatism and Educational Research (with Nicholas C. Burbules; 2003), Beyond Learning: Democratic Education for a Human Future (2006), Improving Learning Cultures in Further Education (with David James; 2007), Democracy, Education and the Moral Life (coedited with Michael Katz & Susan Verducci; 2008), Contexts, Communities and Networks (coedited with Richard Edwards & Mary Thorpe; 2008).


"Since the beginning of his writing, Jacques Derrida was committed to deconstructing the political ground of education and its institutions to show the relations of power and knowledge underlying pedagogy. And yet, this aspect of Derrida's work has been relatively marginalized in discussions of his texts by critics who have chosen to situate deconstruction as a form of reading or writing. In 'Derrida, Deconstruction, and the Politics of Pedagogy', Michael A. Peters and Gert Biesta remind us that deconstruction is above all a way to engage the politics of cultural institutions and social practices like the educational system by re-examining the theoretical presuppositions of the ideas and methods we use to build our pedagogies around. It is a must-read for anyone interested in Derrida studies." (Peter Pericles Trifonas, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto) "This wide-ranging, thought-provoking, and challenging book is well-organized and its argument is clearly and concisely presented. It is usually difficult to propose something new that brilliantly refines tested and proven ways. Readers of this well-crafted, lucidly-written book will benefit from Michael A. Peters and Gert Biesta's enormous grasp of both Derrida's oeuvre, and of the key figures without whose engagements it would not be what it is. 'Derrida, Deconstruction, and the Politics of Pedagogy' is a significant contribution to the field of Derrida scholarship." (George Lazaroiu, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, 'Review of Contemporary Philosophy') "Michael A. Peters' and Gert Biesta's book first explores Derrida's philosophy in the eyes of foes and friends. It then follows a nuanced and generously humane analysis of key concepts in Derrida's work in their bearing on politics and education today. The transparent text guides the reader towards a well-argued view for a different future for general education in a time of its much-needed renewal. This is a rare and well-written book and a fine contribution to the philosophy of education by two of its expert scholars." (Lars Lovlie, Professor of Philosophy of Education, Institute for Educational Research, University of Oslo)

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