Generational relations and education: interdisciplinary reflections on the current process of imposing and removing boundaries
Generational differences were once considered an unquestioned foundation of pedagogy in the modern era. Today the question of generational boundaries is not only becoming increasingly reflexive, but also multi-layered. In view of this uncertain situation, the symposium would like to shed light on different processes of imposing and removing boundaries between generations and discuss them in their relevance for education in an international context. For this purpose, an interdisciplinary forum will be set up to discuss various aspects of generational ordering on a spectrum between delimitation and dissolution. In each lecture the results of empirical research will be presented in order to shed light on different processes of imposing and removing boundaries: spatial/territorial, intra-generational, temporal/biographical and socio-cultural aspects of “generationing” will be identified.
Beiträge des Panels
Generational relations and spatial boundaries. Children’s practices in public urban space
Since Muchow’ pioneering work it may be regarded as common knowledge that children inhabit urban spaces. Children not only use space, but also form it, make it their own and create it through practice. At the same time, ‘public’ space is strongly segmented, limited and contested, especially for children and young people, but also for adults. Drawing on research results from a EU funded project (HORIZON 2020) we are able to show how generation plays a vital role when it comes to the negotiation of space in practice. Especially in leisure practices such as riding scooters, it is no longer only the large generational boundaries (child-adult) that are significant, but also generational doing boundary and doing difference between youth and childhood. These negotiations become particularly effective spatially where children appropriate spaces that are actually characterised by youth practices and their enclosure and “zoning” (Reutlinger et.al. 2016), such as skate parks.
Referring critically to the approach of Educational commons (Means, Ford, & Slater, 2017) we will analyze the educational dimension of the negotiations, conflicts and collaborations in different generational relations and how they may be pedagogically framed in the vain of democratic education.
Peer education as a generational practice of educational delimitation
Children and adolescents are “doing student” (Budde 2013) experts, due to a socially established, institutionally shaped educational biography and thus simultaneously establish a pedagogically effective generational order between adult and child/adolescent. At the same time, peer interaction is also pedagogically relevant, because children and young people are considered to have a high socializing value when they act together (Schröder 2007). But they are also important educational and learning instances that are pedagogically useful. In the sense of peer capital (Du Bois-Reymond 2000), these relationships are then learning situations of equals among equals, to which a high educational potential is attributed (Brake & Büchner 2013).
Referring to own empirical data from a study that reconstructs how adolescent peer practices help to shape sexual education situations, the focus of this lecture is to show how adolescents engage in sexual education with each other, thereby putting up for discussion the extent to which generational boundaries are necessary at all for the production of an pedagogical order (Wrana 2013). With Punch (2020), it could then be argued that peer practice is also "intragenerational" pedagogical practice, or formulated differently: in this context doing youth is then also intragenerational doing pedagogy.
Back to the Future - Memory archiving of Residential Children as a generational de-boundary
Most people who did not grow up in institutions of care have a rich personal archive of photographs and memorabilia as well as access to people, places and objects from their childhood and youth, with the opportunity to revisit these phases by returning to meaningful places. They can therefore refresh their memories of significant others as adults. Care-experienced people, however, often report that they have only very limited possibilities to access these material aspects of their life. Against this backdrop, the DFG- and AHRC-funded research project “Archiving Residential Children`s Homes (ARCH) in Scotland and Germany”, on the one hand, examines previous ways of archiving childhoods and youths spent in state care. On the other hand, this transnational project works with young people currently in residential care and responsible institutional representatives to explore and develop novel ways of archiving childhood and youth in state care and thus provide future care leavers with rich memories of meaningful persons, moments and things from their current youth. The project thus investigates and follows previous and novel processes by which people break down generational boundaries between their childhood, adolescence and adulthood, influenced by archiving aspects of the self while growing up. This lecture will discuss initial findings and the specific challenges of memory archiving in Scotland and Germany.
Children as future-makers and the politics of reworking the generational order
To argue that children are future-makers is not simply to recognise their role in crafting the future or their right to do so, both of which are important in a world where children are denied substantive participation in formal political processes because of their age; it is also to acknowledge and highlight the new, emerging understandings of what childhood is, in light of children being mobilised in fights for justice on a global scale. Moreover, it means drawing attention to the hierarchical generational order which constitutes childhood and adulthood and the challenges that this order is confronted with in today’s world as a result of the assertive efforts made by children and young people to claim more just and sustainable futures for themselves. Drawing on empirical research with young climate activists in Cyprus, this presentation will highlight young people’s role in future-making, especially as they strive to make sense of their place in an adult-dominated world where their perspectives and voices are marginalised. Their calls for adults to join youth struggles for climate justice clearly demonstrate their desire for intergenerational solidarity and more horizontal relations with adults while also reaffirming their commitment to move forward and fight even in the absence of adult solidarity. This indicates that there will be a new political arena for renegotiating and reworking the generational order in the years to come.