Keith Crome - Education as Child’s Play

Season Four of British Society for Phenomenology Podcast concludes with one of the keynotes from our 2019 Annual Conference. Keith Crome is Principal Lecturer in Philosophy, and Education Lead for the Department of History, Politics and Philosophy, Manchester Metropolitan University; as well as the BSP Impact Director. 


ABSTRACT: While schooling is a serious business, and education requires discipline, we are often told by educationalists, and also by our students, to make learning fun. There is an obvious extrinsic justification for doing this. As John Dewey noted a century ago in Democracy and Education (1916), experience has shown that allowing pupils to play makes going to school a joy — or at least provides relief from the tedium and strain of regular school work — and management less of a burden. Nevertheless, the link between education and play, familiar to us all (who hasn’t learnt by playing?), is fundamental. The aim of this talk is to explore this connection and its implications for a radical conception of education. I will begin with the contention that the originary co-belonging of play and education has been obscured by the rise of homo faber and the animal laborans, and the attendant overpowering of homo ludens. I will argue that a failure to recognise this vitiates Dewey’s celebrated pragmatist account of education. I will attempt to suggest that it is possible to think beyond the horizon of Dewey’s work by following Eugen Fink in conceiving the phenomenon of play as a mode of activity irreducible to either praxis and poiesis. Such a conception permits us to return to and rethink the originary correspondence between education and play as it was recognised by the Ancient Greeks.


BIO: Dr Keith Crome is Principal Lecturer in Philosophy and Education Lead for the Department of History, Politics and Philosophy at Manchester Metropolitan University. He served as President of the British Society for Phenomenology from 2014 - 2018, and is currently a member of the editorial collective of the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology and Impact Director for the society. He has published widely on 20th century French Philosophy and he is the author of Lyotard and Greek Thought (Palgrave, 2004) and co-editor of The Lyotard Reader and Guide (Edinburgh University Press, 2006). His current research focuses on the history of character. He is working with the Cooperative College on a project examining the role that character plays in ideas and practices of cooperation.


The ‘British Society for Phenomenology Annual Conference 2019 – the Theory and Practice of Phenomenology’ was held at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester, UK, 5 – 7 September, 2019:


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The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, events, and podcast. Why not find out more, join the society, and subscribe to our journal the JBSP?

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