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On the Verge of Tears: The Ambivalent Spaces of Emotions and Testimonies
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0487-5395
2019 (English)In: Studies in Philosophy and Education, ISSN 0039-3746, E-ISSN 1573-191X, Vol. 38, no 5, p. 467-480Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article discusses the relation between emotions and testimony, by asking the questions: What do emotions do? Are emotions possible and desirable starting points for teaching difficult and complex subjects such as injustice and historical wounds? This article explores the 2015 image and testimony of Alan Kurdi, lying on a beach of the Mediterranean Sea and the immense emotional response it elicited from the media. By critiquing emotions based on testimonies in teaching, by primarily following Ahmed (The cultural politics of emotion, Routledge, New York.  https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203700372, 2004) and Todd (Learning from the other: Levinas, psychoanalysis, and ethical possibilities in education. State University of New York Press, Albany, 2003), this article argues that emotions are cultural practices, not psychological states, and, thus, are relational. On this point, the argument is developed into two different movements, first, the effects offered by listening; second, opacity in relation to transparency, based on the thoughts of Glissant (Poetics of relation. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1997). The aspects of listening and opacity in relation to testimonies, in turn, yield an ambivalent space in which emotions play a role (regardless of whether or not that function is desired) in students encounter with testimonies and may, in turn, imply educational possibilities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 38, no 5, p. 467-480
Keywords [en]
Emotions, Testimony, Witnessing, Listening, Opacity, Alan Kurdi
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-168175DOI: 10.1007/s11217-019-09663-2ISI: 000482219800002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-168175DiVA, id: diva2:1306565
Note

The article is a developed version of a chapter in: Det omöjliga vittnandet, om vittnesmålets pedagogiska möjligheter (Eskaton, 2017).

Available from: 2019-04-24 Created: 2019-04-24 Last updated: 2019-09-16Bibliographically approved

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