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Thinking Without Banisters: Toward a Compassionate Inquiry of Human Rights Education
Educational Theory (2005)
  • Sharon Sliwinski
In this essay I chart a range of difficulties for the field of human rights education, a field
that has traditionally been preoccupied with universal principles. These difficulties
arise in conjunction with three critiques of the view of morality implicit in this version
of human rights education: Levinas’s ‘‘interhuman’ ’realm of ethical responsibility, the
vicissitudes and resistances to learning elucidated by psychoanalysis, and the complex
nature of the faculty of judgment as described by Hannah Arendt. Although perhaps
philosophically irreconcilable, these three critiques combine to suggest the potential
for human rights education to become an education that attends to the ethical responsibility that occurs apart from the rational aims of knowledge. Rather than merely an instrumentalized, moralized method for ‘securing the future, this latter approach provides an important location for what Arendt called ‘‘thinking without a banister.’’
Publication Date
Citation Information
Sharon Sliwinski. "Thinking Without Banisters: Toward a Compassionate Inquiry of Human Rights Education" Educational Theory Vol. 55 Iss. 2 (2005)
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