Turning the gaze to the self and away from the self–Foucault and Weil on the matter of education as attention formation
(2019) Ethics and Education, 14 (3), pp. 285-297.
Through writings of Simone Weil and Michel Foucault, the article explores the notion of education as the formation of the attending and attentive subjects. Both writers have in different ways acknowledged the important relation between attention and the self. While Weil develops a spiritual form of attention, an attention which can be trained in any form of serious studying, aiming at dissolving the illusion of the self, Foucault understands attention as an important aspect in the Greek notion of the care of the self, which was developed outside of and due to the limitations of pedagogy aiming at a self-attentive self-formation. Both non-egotistic notions of attention address ethical and educational dimensions of human subjectivity. Foucault’s notion is anti-institutional and Weil’s notion is non-formative. As such, both perspectives inform educational thinking and practice by highlighting attention as a crucial aspect of both the active and the contemplative subject. © 2019, © 2019 The Author(s).
attention; education; Michel Foucault; Simone Weil