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Rikke Toft Nørgård

Spaces of life: Revolt, expulsion and a conceptual rebirth of the educative subject

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Beyond knowledge, critical thinking, new ideas, rigorous science and scholarly development, the university is a space of life. It is a place for academic, moral and cultural citizenship, ethically entangled with ways of being, encountering and evolving thought and relationships with the self, the Other and society. This paper examines this space of life as being also a place of resistance and revolt, of demise, and of re-birth. Approaching the university as a lived space and experiential place (Tuan, 1997; Casey, 1997) demonstrating morality through its design (Flusser 1999; Verbeek, 2005), it can be said to be teetering, like Levinasian (2001) spectors or ghosts, somewhere ‘between being and nothingness’.
As a space of life, even a virtuous place for critical citizenship (Nixon, 2008), the university then has a role in maintaining the ‘life and the mind of the species’ (Kristeva, 2000). This, Kristeva insists, calls for revolt. This paper argues for a space of life through unsettled and heterotopic places for transgression and caring within the university, where resistance in the form of revolt is a necessary ‘commitment to freedom’ and ‘an invitation to alterity’ (Jenks, 2003). We use Kristeva’s notions of revolt and abjection, to argue for the critical transformative functions of constant puzzlement and questioning. Such reformation, through expulsion and re-emergence, we argue, offer hopeful potentialities for a conceptual rebirth of both the educative subject, and of the university space, in a constant re-establishment of the life and entanglements within it.
Original languageEnglish
Publication yearNov 2017
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
EventPhilosophy of Education Society Australasia (PESA): Birth, Death and Rebirth: Does philosophy of education need a new Subject? - Crowne Plaza, Newcastle, Australia
Duration: 1 Dec 20175 Dec 2017
Conference number: 47th


ConferencePhilosophy of Education Society Australasia (PESA)
LocationCrowne Plaza
Internet address

    Research areas

  • Higher education, Revolt, Student learning, Student being, educational philosophy, Philosophy of higher education

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