Theory and Philosophy of Education Research Group (TheorEd)
Research group information
Research group leader
- ProfessorKatariina Holma
Research group description
The Theory and Philosophy of Education Research Group contributes to understanding humans in change by analyzing, criticizing, and developing theoretical and philosophical understanding of education. The group focuses particularly on the development of individuality, productive citizenship and moral agency in contemporary plural societies and a globalized world. It approaches these topics from the perspectives of multiple philosophical fields and seeks dialogue between the different traditions. Its main areas of study are
Theories of democracy and citizenship
Philosophy of science in educational research
Educational institutions and their role in modern and late modern societies
The Bildung theoretical classics and tradition
The research is conducted in collaboration with a wide variety of international and national collaboration partners in universities around Finland, Europe, Uganda, Tanzania, and the US.
CS-LEARN: Theory and Practice of Learning to be a Citizen (2018-2022)
CS-LEARN is a consortium project between the University of Jyväskylä and the University of Oulu. The consortium connects two groups: the research group on Civil Society and Citizenship in Development ( CitDe ) led by PI, Academy of Finland Research Fellow Tiina Kontinen at the University of Jyväskylä (JYU), and the Theory and Philosophy of Education Research Group ( TheorEd) led by the leader of the sub-project, Prof. Katariina Holma at the University of Oulu. It expands the team’s ongoing research project Growth into Citizenship in Civil Society Encounters (GROW) (AoF 2015-2019), which explores ideas of citizenships in NGO-interventions and among community members in Tanzania and Uganda in connection with a notion of learning as growth based on philosophical pragmatism and especially the work of John Dewey.
While it is widely agreed that transformative development require competent citizens able to organize in civil society spaces, less is known about the complexities related to learning to be a citizen. The development research literature has indicated gaps between development ideals and contextual lives experiences, and thus, has motivated the team to explore both the localized conceptions and theoretical conceptualizations. The project scrutinizes the theories, practices and experiences of learning to be a citizen in civil society with case studies in Tanzania and Uganda. CS-LEARN combines research groups with complementary expertise in development research and educational philosophy from the Universities of Oulu and Jyväskylä, and partners with adult education in Makerere University, Uganda and development studies at the University of Dodoma, Tanzania.
To reach the overall objective of developing a theory of learning to be a citizen in civil society the project aims to: 1) identify and compare definitions, conceptualizations and manifestations of a “good citizen” in theories, CSO practices and experiences; 2) identify and compare conceptualizations, descriptions, and experiences of processes of learning to be a citizen in theories, CSO agendas and participation processes. The consortium applies a combination of three methodologies: a) rational reconstruction of philosophical and educational theories; b) ethnography of CSO-interventions and everyday participation in Uganda and Tanzania with specific focus on self-help and religious groups; and c) critical action research among women groups in marginalized areas. Research material will comprise of selected theories of education and related philosophical literature, observations, documents, interviews and participatory exercises with community members and CSOs.
The project is funded by the Academy of Finland's Programme for Development Research, and it includes capacity-building of African partner universities through joint research seminars and methodology courses with practice period in communities. The project pays special attention to building of research capacity by enabling working periods for African postdocs in Finnish Universities.
The academic outcomes contribute to contemporary theory of citizens’ education and to literatures of contextualized citizenship and civil society in development research. Societal impact will be enabled by the creation of theoretical tools for designing civil society interventions for reaching the transformative development outlined in Agenda2030.
Citizenship in Change: Constructing a Novel Theoretical Framework for Education (2018-2022)
The project contributes to the construction of a novel theoretical framework for citizenship education in the contemporary pluralizing, globalizing and digitalizing world. It studies and develops the philosophical foundations of citizenship education by focusing especially on 1) critical abilities necessary for evaluating different ideologies 2) emotional abilities necessary for encountering differences and 3) the new forms of citizen participation in the era of digitalization and social media. It analyzes the conceptions of rationality and morality in the philosophical theories and brings them into dialogue with recent empirical research results. It draws conceptual tools, among other sources, from the framework of philosophical pragmatism and contemporary discussion on non-ideal theories. The project also develops research methodology that combines empirical and philosophical research in a methodologically sound manner, in order to construct a novel theoretical framework for citizenship education. This project is funded by the University of Oulu as one of the spearhead projects of the strategic focus area Understanding Humans in Change from 2018 to 2022.
GROW: Growth into Citizenship in Civil Society Encounters (2015-2019)
Growth into citizenship in civil society encounters ("GROW") is a consortium project which combines the expertise of development ethnography and philosophical pragmatism and joins the University of Jyväskylä and the University of Oulu (University of Eastern Finland in 2015-2016). The project collaborates with the Makerere University in Uganda, and the University of Dodoma in Tanzania. The project is funded by the Academy of Finland from 2015 to 2019.
The main objective is to develop a new theoretical framework of growth into citizenship for development research in dialogue with philosophical pragmatism and development ethnography. This objective is divided into three subtasks: 1) to investigate the theoretical conditions of growth into citizenship in the context of philosophical pragmatism; 2) to explore the processes of growth into citizenship in the encounters within civil society development interventions in selected cases in Uganda and Tanzania ; and 3) to experiment with methodology where pragmatism informs ethnography and ethnographic findings facilitate the construction of new theory. In the dialogical methodology used, pragmatism informs the fieldwork focus and the ethnographic findings contribute to the theory development. Each case provides a vignette of changing citizenships interpreted through John Dewey’s notion of learning as growth, in the context of value pluralism, and citizenship mainly conceptualized as learned abilities and habits of participation. Moreover, the construction and negotiation of the notion of citizenship is investigated within the contexts of civil society interventions explicitly addressing citizenship. The areas of interests include different perceptions of citizenship and their transformations along the negotiations, characteristics of different societal contexts, different patterns of social memberships, and political peculiarities of African political societies, as well as their potential implications to the conceptual understandings will be examined. More information in https://www.jyu.fi/hytk/fi/laitokset/yfi/en/research/projects/political-instituitions/Grow .
The list of selected publications
Holma, K. & Kontinen, T. (eds.) Learning, Philosophy, and African Citizenship. Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-94882-5
Itkonen, A. (2022). From Reactivity to Sustainable Citizenship: Perspectives from Braidotti’s Philosophy. In: Holma, K. & Kontinen, T. (eds.) Learning, Philosophy, and African Citizenship. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 93-113.
Kekki, M.-K. (2022). Demokratian arvostus kestävän mediankäytön perustana. In: Rautiainen, M., Hiljanen, M., Männistö, P. (Eds.) Lupaus paremmasta: demokratia ja koulu Suomessa, Into. pp. 219-239.
Huhtala, H-M. (2021) Anti-theodicies – An Adornian approach Human Affairs 2021-04-27 | journal-article
Kekki, Minna-Kerttu & Castillo, Katja (2021). Kokemus toisesta ja kesto Bergsonin filosofiassa. In Tiede & edistys 3/2021. 192-207.
Hanovská, Lenka (2020) “Čas v časech moderny Jacquesa Rarciera”. In The Philosophical Journal, 6/2020, journal-article
Bananuka, Twine and John M. Waughn (2020) “The Crafting of “Critical Education”: Edperiences of a Ugandan NGO. in Holma, K & Kontinen T (eds.) Practices of Citizenship in East Africa: Perspectives from Philosophical Pragmatism. London: Routledge, 194-208.
Kauppi, Veli-Mikko, Holma, Katariina & Kontinen, Tiina (2020): “John Dewey’s Notion of Social Intelligence” in Holma, K & Kontinen T (eds.) Practices of Citizenship in East Africa: Perspectives from Philosophical Pragmatism. London: Routledge, 44-54.
Kekki, Minna-Kerttu (2020) “Challenges and Possibilities of Media-Based Dialogue: Misunderstanding, Stereotyping, and Reflective Attitude”, in Rethinking Ethical-Political Education (Torill Strand, ed.), 223-236.
Pettersson, Henri (2020) “The Conflicting Ideals of Democracy and Critical Thinking in Citizenship Education”, Philosophy of Education Yearbook 2019; 355-368.
Rydenfelt, Henrik (2020) Pragmatism, social inquiry and the method of democracy in Holma, K & Kontinen T (eds.) Practices of Citizenship in East Africa: Perspectives from Philosophical Pragmatism. London: Routledge, 29-43.
Huhtala, Hanna-Maija & Holma, Katariina (2019) "Education of Moral Beings: the Distortion of Habermas' Empirical Sources" Ethics and Education, 14(2), 171-183.
Rydenfelt, Henrik (2019) “Pragmatist Antimony” in Rydenfelt, Henrik; Bergman, Mats; Koskinen, Heikki J. (eds.) Limits of Pragmatism and Challenges of Theodicy. Helsinki: Philosophical Society of Finland
Holma, Katariina, Kontinen Tiina. & Blanken-Webb, Jane. (2018) “Growth into citizenship. Framework for conceptualizing learning in NGO-interventions in sub-Saharan Africa” Adult Education Quarterly, 68(3), 215–234.
Huhtala, Hanna-Maija (2018), Sivistys ja kasvatus ennen ja nyt: adornolainen näkökulma sivistykseen. Koulu ja menneisyys. Suomen kasvatuksen ja koulutuksen historian vuosikirja 56 (2018), s. 329-351. Saatavilla osoitteesta: https://journal.fi/koulujamenneisyys/article/view/77701
Rydenfelt, Henrik (2018) ”Nordic Context” in Festl, Michael (ed.) Handbuch Pragmatismus. Stuttgart: Verlag J. B. Metzler, 321-326.
Rydenfelt, Henrik (2017) Habits, Purposes and Pragmatism in: M. Švantner & V. Gvoždiak, eds. How to Make Signs Clear: Sources, Problems and Limits of Peirceʼs Sign Theory. Leiden: Brill.