Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

de Marzio, D.M. The Pedagogy of Self-Fashioning: A Foucaultian Study of Montaigne’s “On Educating Children”, Studies in Philosophy and Education, Volume 31, Issue 4, July 2012, Pages 387-405

DOI: 10.1007%2Fs11217-011-9282-3

In this paper I interpret Montaigne’s essay, “On Educating Children”, as a pedagogical text through its performance of a distinct epistolary function, one that addresses the letter-recipient for the purpose of shaping the ideas, actions, and beliefs of that individual. At the same time, I also read “On Educating Children” within the context of the wider project of Montaigne’s Essays, which, as I suggest, is an ethical-aesthetic project of self-fashioning and self-cultivation. The net result is an interpretation of teaching as an ethical-aesthetic practice of the self, one that is in concert with the interpretation of Montaigne’s writing of the Essays as a similar practice of the self. In order to build this case, I employ Michel Foucault’s fourfold schema of ethical subjectivity, mapping that schema onto “On Educating Children”, so as to reveal a unique pedagogy of self-formation-a pedagogy that works as much upon the self of the teacher as it does the self of the student.

Author keywords
Ethical-subjectivity; Foucault; Letter-writing; Montaigne; Plutarch; Self-fashioning

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