Learning, Education and Knowledge Transmission in Cultural and Intercultural contexts
Mart Viirand (University of Edinburgh)
Piibe Kolka (Tallinn University)
Life and Death
University Place 6.211
Start time:
9 August, 2013 at 16:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

The panel discusses the role of education in the transmission of knowledge and skills; (re)production of cultural representations and identities; and maintenance of traditional value systems within communities with respect to their environment.

Long abstract:

The explicit aim of education could be defined as the transmission of knowledge and skills. Yet the influences of formal and non-formal education reach beyond the confines of the school or the immediate relationship of teachers and students. As an inherently trans-generational institution, schooling is instrumental in (re)constructing cultural identities, historical memories, and social hierarchies. While traditional Althusserian view holds schools purely in the service of the state, more recent theory recognizes them as sites of contest between wider variety of social actors. The latter include political and religious elites but also, and not insignificantly, teachers, parents, and students. Throughout the era of globalization, schools have been mediators between tradition and modernity, serving as (re)producers of subaltern values as well as agents of dominant ideologies. With the rise of popular movements across the global South, education's role in contests over natural habitats, indigenous knowledge, and traditional livelihoods cannot be overstated. It is therefore important not only to understand historical contexts and explicit curricular aims of educational processes, but to look beyond confines of the school, paying attention to how they are interpreted by different stakeholders. Particularly in trans-cultural encounters, the roles of teacher and student (and, by extension, various social formations underlying these roles), can hold radically different meanings for the respective sides. Likewise, the symbolic repertoires employed in the process of knowledge transmission can resonate differently across cultural divides. By looking at sites of such confrontations that this panel seeks for insights on educational institutions and practices.