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The current Conference time is: 12th Aug 2022, 08:15:38pm CEST

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Parallel session - A.4.1 What is the aim of education?
Wednesday, 02/June/2021:
3:15pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Massimo Baldacci
Location: Room 1

Session Panels:
A.4. What is the aim of education?

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Luca Odini

Università di Verona, Italia

The aim of this work is to analyse the purpose of education identified by Labriola in the texts in which he explores the targets of the popular school.

The Author specifies the popular school is a significant problem because the true meaning of education arises when school and its subjects generate curiosity and the habit of examining things that concern themselves, the world and social relationships.

Although the period of education is short, Labriola argues an institution in which there is no way to carry out the whole educational task does not deserve the name of popular school. The ultimate meaning of education of the popular school should be sought not only in the increasingly common need to provide basic education, in such a way that an ever larger number of the people, who devoted to manual labour, can have a tool to organize their culture.

In this direction, it is essential everyone can acquire basic competences to be able to connect the general education topic with the rights and duties of individuals, and the awareness of the social bonds, creating in the community and between citizens.

Therefore, Labriola alloys the theme of the existence and purpose of education in the popular school with the democratic school. In other words, popular school become a school aims at the emancipation of everyone, the result of modern democracy. The sense of school means for the Author a setting without class boundaries which aims at social and cultural emancipation.

Bondì D. (2015), Antonio Labriola nella storia della cultura: a proposito di una recente edizione degli scritti, in Rivista di storia della filosofia, LXX, 4, 2015.

Burgio A. (2005), Antonio Labriola nella storia e nella cultura della nuova Italia, Quodlibet, Macerata.

Dainotto R. (2008), Historical Materialism as New Humanism: Antonio Labriola’s “In Memoria del Manifesto dei comunisti”, in Annali d’italianistica, Vol. 26, pp. 265-282.

Labriola A. (1953), La concezione materialistica della storia, Laterza, Bari.

Labriola A. (1961), Scritti di pedagogia e politica scolastica, Editori Riuniti, Roma.

Labriola A. (2014), Tutti gli scritti filosofici e di teoria dell'educazione, Bompiani, Milano.

Marchi D. (1971), La pedagogia di Antonio Labriola, la Nuova Italia, Firenze.

Marino M. (1990), Antonio Labriola: il problema pedagogico come problema politico, Fondazione Fazio-Allmayer, Palermo.

Siciliani de Cumis N. (2011), Labriola dopo Labriola. Tra nuove carte d’archivio, ricerche, didattica, ETS, Pisa.

Zangheri R. (2003), Il marxismo di Antonio Labriola. Un riesame, in Studi Storici, Vol. 44 (1), pp. 153-163.


Enrico Bocciolesi

Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo, Italy

In a deep pandemic crisis, pedagogical issues gain new visibility. In the closure of places, with the constraint of limited spaces, the value of educating, of being able to understand the narrative plots of reality, the different approaches to discordant codes and occult languages are rediscovered. The conditions of critical thinking and, above all, of liberation are fundamental. The term literacy in recent years has been affected by significant changes, especially in the context of Latin America, where numerous experts in the pedagogical area have fostered a recent profound institutional change, such as that of 2019, which led to the integration of the Constitutional Charter of the United Mexican United States. Recent educational contributions starting from the deep Latin American reflections and the international comparison context of CLACSO of the Latin American Council of Human and Social Sciences require a clear deepening in the European context. The recent integration of the term literacies into Mexican universities while in Italian becomes the competence of critical literacy, in a contemporary context of the contextual prevalence of electronic technologies, today requires particular attention. In the face of emotional hardships, the change in forms of communication between peers, families, friends, and teachers, where network connection is founding part of a process of hidden and misleading learning. The impossibility of being able to interpret different communicative languages affects the meaning of the messages transmitted, the meaning acquired by the instrument conveys a misunderstood narrative. Freirean thought becomes a moment of reflection and questioning of educational practices that, today, are binding modes of higher thought to trivial network issues, or connection. Dussel, in 2018, reflecting on the drifts of the term education, devoted himself to paying attention to the high transformative value of Freirean pedagogy, which rediscovers the people, the community, the origins, and therefore citizenship in its many specificities. Thus, the critical closeness of Ferreiro's literate thought is intertwined with the Freirean reflections, necessary to propose and obtain a social and anti-hegemonic redemption. The pandemic problem becomes a pretext for the electronic reinterpretation of education, given the real absence of interactions between the parties involved. The author Rodari himself, in organizing thoughts within a Grammar of Fantasy, would have refused to the obligation of a lesson bound by the student's passivity, due not only to the instrumentation but also, in a methodology not fully adequate and victimized by political, economic, hegemonic situations. Gramscian subalternity relationships are projected in Freirean macro visions where they increase the evidence of problems and recall numerous questions. Critical thinking guides learning, learning and those who feed on the content learned, both students, students, and teachers. We learn together, no one educates anyone, we educate ourselves through the mediation of the world used to remember Freire, and so we must rediscover the value of consciousness and freedom of learning.


Manuela Gallerani

Alma Mater Studiorum-Università degli Studi di Bologna, Italia

Manuela Gallerani
Full professor of Education

Department of Educational Studies "G.M.Bertin"

Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna


The different approaches of the ‘ethics of care’ developed by feminist critical thinking have shown that in today’s societies it is essential to radically rethink the policies of the States and also aims and forms of education. These movements favor the implementation of a global and inclusive citizenship aimed at promoting a more equitable and sustainable development. Given that complex and globalized societies are suffering from cultural, civil and political crises (as well as by violence and social disparities), these approaches highlight how differences, vulnerability and precariousness are the hallmarks of a human existence exposed to the risks inherent in contemporaneity. Hence the need to introduce new postures of education and citizenship that are more aware of the role of care, interdependence, intersectionality and sustainability. In this context, the contribute explains how this critical thinking reveals different ways of thinking about the education, knowledge and active citizenship: that is, the way of living experiences and relationships with others and with the environment. This analysis in accordance with the United Nations 2030 Agenda outlines a holistic approach to achieving the SDGs for all people to transform our world (Cf. 17 Sustainable Development Goals: especially the goal 4. Quality education, and the goal 5. Gender equality).

KEY WORDS: global education; lifelong learning; gender gap; active citizenship; Sustainable Development Goals


Beck U., La società globale del rischio, Asterios Editore, Trieste, 2001

Ceruti M., Bellusci F., Abitare la complessità. La sfida di un destino comune, Mimesis, Milano, 2020

Gallerani M., Birbes C. (a cura di), L’abitare come progetto, cura e responsabilità. Aspetti epistemologici e progettuali, Zeroseiup, Bergamo, 2019

Marquard O., Il manifesto pluralista?, Il Melangolo, Genova, 2016

Morin E., Insegnare a vivere, Raffaello Cortina, Milano, 2015

Mortari L., Educare alla cittadinanza partecipata, Bruno Mondadori, Milano, 2008

Noddings N. (ed.), Educating Citizens for Global Awareness, Teachers College Press, New York, 2005

Noddings N., Education and Democracy in the 21st Century, Teachers College, New York and London, 2013

Nussbaum M. C., Giustizia sociale e dignità umana. Da individui a persone, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2002

Nussbaum M.C., Non per profitto. Perché le democrazie hanno bisogno della cultura umanistica, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2011

OMS, Life skills education school handbook. Prevention of noncommunicable diseases. Ginevra: The ‎World Health Organization’s‎, 2020

Osiadacz E., Global citizenship, Brock Education Journal, 27 (2), 2018, pp. 44-47

Rawls J., Una teoria della giustizia, Feltrinelli, Milano, 1997

Sen A., L’idea di giustizia, Mondadori, Milano 2010

Spivak G.C., L’imperativo di re-immaginare il pianeta, “Aut Aut”, n. 312, maggio-giugno 2002, pp.72-87

Tronto J.C., Confini morali. Un argomento politico per l’etica della cura, Reggio Emilia, Diabasis, 2006.


Denis Francesconi

University of Vienna/ Center for Teacher Education, Austria

In line with the topic of this panel, this paper aims at discussing the future of education in the Anthropocene and the epistemological challenges that such concept brings to education. This new historic phase requires a restatement of the nature and aims of education. Scholars suggest that human communities should increase their self-governance ability while at the crossroads of different models of human development. Indeed, the industrial model adopted in the last two centuries nowadays represents a great risk for the Earth System’s equilibrium and shows structural limits in supporting human surviving and wellbeing.

Anthropocene is usually defined as a geological epoch marked by measurable effects of the human activities on Earth's geology and ecosystems. In this paper, instead, I propose a pedagogical approach to Anthropocene – in particular the embodied-enactive education approach (Francesconi and Gallagher, 2018; Varela et al., 1991) – and suggest to consider the Anthropocene as the Human’s Era – as the etymology suggests – more than a geological one, since the main force truly acting on the Earth System is the human mind. The accelerating complexification of human knowledge (noosphere’s complexity) has continued to increase even during these recent turbulent times and a pedagogical/cognitive perspective on the Anthropocene – despite being rather new – can help redefining the problem and detecting original solutions.

I will first introduce the concept of Anthropocene and some main related concepts – in particular Noosphere and Infosphere – and I will present their similarities and differences in the light of an enactive and embodied approach to educational theory. Then, I will show how pedagogy plays a crucial role in modern era based on knowledge and information complexity. I will discuss the role of collective and distributed learning, which is also defined as Global Mind, and how it can facilitate human adaptation. In particular, I will introduce the notion of systemic self-pedagogy. Systemic self-pedagogy, or paideutic systemic function, refers to the fundamental function of the human systems to: a) increment cognitive power and self-enhancement capacity (autocatalytic function); b) select and distribute knowledge, c) form systems’ identity and awareness; d) contribute to systems’ governance (teleological function).

I will conclude by stressing the need to reinforce and extend the educational approach to the scientific and political area of Anthropocene and Earth System governance since it could be highly innovative and it could introduce new terminology and topics for the sustainability of the mind-nature co-evolution. At the same time, the concept of Anthropocene carries structural challenges to educational theory that need to be addressed.


Silvia Fioretti

Università di Urbino, Italia

Today, educational reflection is crossed by various problems, among these emerge the globalization of the economy and the hegemony of neoliberalism. Education must maintain rigor and scientificity in its defining the purposes. The educational purposes guide the training interventions and allow consistency and adequacy of the training proposal concerning current issues. It is necessary to question the current educational aims, to investigate how these are connected to social transformations and how they affect changes related to school learning.

What relations are established between educational purposes and the training curriculum?

In the past Bertin, in Educazione alla ragione (1975), identified, among others, the intellectual purpose as a useful lighthouse to guide and orient the adequacy of the educational proposal. He provided a general and abstract definition of it, defined on an intellectual level.

Is this transcendental form still adequate to intercept the more specific intellectual needs of this generation?

In a traditional conception, the curriculum is elaborated since a derivation of the aims assigned to the education system, the result of a reflection on values ​​and aims. The curricular construction is therefore divided in two aspects: the definition of the purposes that have been elaborated by the philosophy of education and/or by political decisions; the interpretation of these purposes into teaching goals. In this sense, the curriculum is a control activity or rather a rationalization of the teaching process. Therefore, it seems to be no room for adequate consideration of the social context in which the curriculum should occur.

Dewey (1902) had already taken a position against the inconsistency of this way of conceiving the question. For Dewey, the curriculum must be devised both in relation to the student to whom it is addressed and to the society within it is integrated.

This contribution questions the possibility of recognizing the use of interpreted taxonomies as a useful tool for determining the purposes of education. This is due to their ability to represent a useful reference tool for determining a curriculum.

In particular, we intend to ask ourselves, whether in a similar and in a formative way, the redefinition and revision carried out on the original taxonomy of the cognitive domain, elaborated by Bloom and his collaborators (Bloom, 1956) implemented by Anderson and Krathwohl in 2001, could be a reformulation relevant to the current historical phase. Either it can act as a filter between educational and curricular objectives and whether it can act as a guiding tool of an abstract epistemology.


Anderson L.W., Krathwohl D.R. (2001), A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing. A Revision on Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, New York, Longman.

Bertin G. M. (1975), Educazione alla ragione, Roma, Armando.

Bloom B.S. (1956), Tassonomia degli obiettivi educativi. Area cognitiva, I, Teramo, Giunti, 1983.

Dewey J. (1902), The Child and the Curriculum, in (trad. italiana) Dewey J., La scuola e il fanciullo, Firenze, La Nuova Italia, 1974.


Giovanni Castagno

Roma Tre, Italia

Our proposal, investigating from some contemporary reflections the school context and the contradictions that the neo-liberal economy has determined within it, tries to analyse the spaces that still today, despite the undoubted condition of weakness, pedagogies of a critical character can exercise to transform it in a progressive sense.

Recovering some conceptual nodes of the thought of Gramsci and Vygotskij, starting from the original vision that distinguishes both of them on the level of the relationship that the world of education establishes with a historically and economically determined society, we will try to show a possible redefinition of the role of the intellectual, and within this category, that of a particular type of intellectual, the teacher.

The definition of this role, as Giroux suggests, is fundamental in order to try to reason about the possibilities of its critical exercise and the obstacles that, within a capitalist framework, inhibit its transformative thrust, its ability to contribute to building collective paths of liberation and emancipation from the dominant thought.

In an economic framework in which relational skills, the management of complexity and interaction with new technologies are essential, it is still possible to imagine forms of collaboration and cooperation that are not functional to the capitalist reproduction of exploitation, but which open up paths to liberation.

For this reason, it is still important to emphasise that constructing forms of liberation from the cage of our present is a task that only intellectuals capable of combining research and commitment, theory and praxis, can carry out, as both Gramsci and Vygotsky were able to do so virtuously, questioning the predominant mechanistic and deterministic hegemonic readings.

Today, at a time when we are experiencing the victory of homo oeconomicus-democraticus, we realise how useful their contribution is in reviewing the categories of democratic thought with a critical eye and imagining an alternative project.

Only by reversing the trend that sees the School incapable of training subalterns as future "leaders", will it be possible to create the conditions for an overall rethinking of social relations and thus lay the foundations for a redefinition of the role of education in contemporary or future society. A functional instrument for the reproduction of the status quo, or instead the motor for the affirmation of that critical spirit necessary to trigger that process of de-mercantilisation of representative democracies mentioned by Boaventura de Sousa in his most recent work.


Au Wayne (2018), Marxist education. Learning to change the world, Haymarket Books, Chicago

Baldacci Massimo (2017), Oltre la subalternità. Praxis ed educazione in Gramsci, Carocci editore, Roma

Baratta Giorgio (2000), Le rose e i quaderni. Saggio sul pensiero di Antonio Gramsci, Gamberetti editore, Roma

Boaventura de Sousa (2016), La difícil democracia. Una mirada desde la periferia europea, Akal, Madrid

Burgio Alberto (2014), Gramsci. Il sistema in movimento, Derive Approdi, Roma

Giroux Henry (2014), Educazione e crisi dei valori pubblici. Le sfide per insegnanti, studenti ed educazione pubblica, La Scuola, Brescia

Torres Carlos Alberto (2014), Globalizzazione ed educazione: classe, etnia, genere e stato, La Scuola, Brescia


Arianna Montemurro

University of Strasbourg, France

In the last decades, an increasing number of philanthropic organizations have penetrated the European education area to, apparently, improve the quality of the school provision. These interest groups have established relationships with the European institution officials by taking part in informal practices to establish advantageous networks in terms of delivering of programs and initiatives in the European education system to be translated in official recommendations. In this context, ‘European policy makers mobilize informal networks to develop scientific knowledge about the effectiveness and quality of education systems’.[1]

The growing importance of digital technologies in our society has allowed these private actors investing in new educational practices. ‘While the imperative to make best use of digital technologies in schools may appear irrefutable, it is important to remain mindful of the symbolic role that technology often plays in discussion and debates over societal change and improvement’.[2]

This communication aims to present how interest groups have penetrated education in Europe and how they structure different types of mobilization and gather different material and cognitive resources which cannot be reduced to the concept of ‘influence’.

Indeed, these interest groups try to develop specific relationships with European institutions in being engaged in different mundane and informal ways from face-to-face meetings to formal representations and consultations in which they tend to bring over their perspectives, interests, and delivery of methods to guide the policy process.[3]

An important issue regarding philanthropy is its connection with the financialization, in a landscape in which investors, financial logics and means play a crucial role.[4] Moreover, private companies are likely to exercise an influence over governments through analytical assignments to maximize their revenue from follow up and implementation activities.[5]


The study is based on qualitative methods for analysing European interest groups in education:

-the first step of our investigation has been a documental analysis screening different kinds of documents, such as manuals, books and brochures, diaries and journals, event programs, maps, press releases, program proposals, organisational or institutional reports.

-the inquiry is now developed to gather data from people involved in these organizations through interviews focused on Italian case studies: philanthropic organizations, banking foundations, cooperatives, volunteer organizations, think tanks.


We have a complete map of the different networks developed by these interest groups thanks to the analysis of some interlinks between these actors and the European policy-makers in European institutions.

[1] Normand, R. (2010). Expertise, Networks, and Indicators: the construction of the European strategy in education. European Education Research Journal. 9(3), p. 407.

[2] Selwyn, N. (2011). Schools and Schooling in the Digital Age. A Critical Analysis. Routledge, p. 22.

[3] Ball, S. J. (2008). New Philanthropy, New Networks and New Governance in Education. Political Studies, Vol. 56, 747-765

[4] Arrigoni, P., Bifulco, L. & Caselli, D. (2020). Why and studying philanthropy. Towards a research agenda. Quaderni di Sociologia. 82(LXIV), 3-23.

[5] Grimaldi, E., & Serpieri, R. (2013) ‘Privatising education policy-making in Italy: New governance and the reculturing of a welfarist education state’. Education Inquiry. Vol. 4(3), 443–472.

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