The essay discusses the concept of character, and some related notions, as they emerge in the contemporary discourse on education. The aim of this article is to provide a sociological interpretation of the increasing relevance of such notions within education policy agendas at the global level. More precisely, the focus is on what could be described as an intensification of reflexivity upon the human being, and a growing interest in the ‘whole child’ in educational agendas, i.e. in personal development beyond the learning outcomes regarding academic topics. The argument develops three main points. First, the principal structural and cultural conditionings are examined that play a role in fostering the renewed importance of personhood. Furthermore, different conceptual frameworks are examined that result in different psycho-semantics. The essay shows how such concepts as character and social and emotional skills (SES) epitomize different, comprehensive conceptions of human selfhood. The article examines their divergence and convergence alike. Finally, some possibilities of integration between the approaches of character and SES are briefly sketched.
On Character Education: Self-Formation and Forms of Life in a Morphogenic Society
Maccarini A. M. (2016) "On Character Education: Self-Formation and Forms of Life in a Morphogenic Society " Italian Journal of Sociology of Education, 8(1), 31-55. DOI: 10.14658/PUPJ-IJSE-2016-1-3
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Italian Journal of Sociology of Education
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