© 2018

Past, Present, and Future Possibilities for Philosophy and History of Education

Finding Space and Time for Research

  • Stefan Ramaekers
  • Naomi Hodgson

About this book


On the occasion of the retirement of Paul Smeyers, this book considers the state and status of the state of the philosophy and history of education today.

Over the last 20 years, the conditions in which research takes place have changed considerably. They have done so in ways that are often less than favourable to disciplines such as history and philosophy of education, and the space and time for the practices that constitute these disciplines – of reading, of writing, of collegiality – is increasingly under pressure. During this time, the Research Community on the History and Philosophy of Educational Research has convened annually to bring its critical lenses to bear on these emergent conditions and to suggest ways that educational research might, or ought to, be done otherwise.

As co-founder and co-convenor of the Research Community, this volume explores and recounts Paul Smeyers' development of Wittgensteinian scholarship and its legacy in education, his formative role in the development of philosophy of education as an international field, his many international collaborations, the “useless” educational-philosophical deepening of concepts, and the wider educational-philosophical import of this.

This gives rise to consideration of  the failure of these fields to halt the changes in the governance and status of the university that threatens them, and those practices that remain and that are emerging in academia that we wish to protect, to pass on to the next generation of researchers in these fields.




Assessments of quality and excellence Researching education Horizon 2020 Purposes of education Educational questions Value of research Constitution of research Challenges in educational research Philosophical approaches to educational research Historical approaches to educational research Research policy Research impact Research community and collaboration

Editors and affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Education & SocietyKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Centre for Education and Policy Analysis, Department of Education StudiesLiverpool Hope UniversityLiverpoolUnited Kingdom

About the editors

Stefan Ramaekers is Associate Professor in the Laboratory for Education and Society, KU Leuven. He studied Educational Sciences and Philosophy at KU Leuven (Belgium) and obtained a PhD in Educational Sciences in the field of Philosophy of Education about forms of skepticism in educational theory and practices. Over the last years, his research has mainly focused on a critical investigation of the discourse of parenting and the parent-child relationship. Together with Prof. Judith Suissa of the Institute of Education (University College London) he published the book The Claims of Parenting. Reasons, responsibility, and society (Springer). Together with Dr. Naomi Hodgson (Liverpool Hope University) he is currently researching figurations of parenting in cultural representations, such as film. Their book Philosophical presentations of raising children: The grammar of upbringing is forthcoming (Autumn 2018; Palgrave).

Naomi Hodgson is Lecturer in Education Studies at Liverpool Hope University, UK, and Visiting Researcher in the Laboratory for Education, Culture, and Society, KU Leuven. Her research, situated in the field of educational philosophy, focuses on the relationship between education, governance, and subjectivity, particularly in relation to the figures of the researcher and the parent. Her current research project, funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust, is entitled 'The researcher disposition as today’s mode of subjectivation: the case of parenting', and she is currently completing the manuscript of Philosophical Presentations of Raising Children: The Grammar of Upbringing, co-authored with Stefan Ramaekers (KU Leuven) and due to be published in 2018. She has recently collaborated with Joris Vlieghe (Aberdeen) and Piotr Zamojski (Gdansk) to write a Manifesto for a Post-Critical Pedagogy (Punctum Books, 2018). Naomi is author of Philosophy and Theory in Education: Writing in the Margin (co-authored with Amanda Fulford; Routledge, 2016), Citizenship for the Learning Society: Europe, Subjectivity, and Educational Research (Wiley, 2016), and numerous journal articles and book chapters in the field of philosophy of education.

Paul Smeyers is Professor at Ghent University and at KU Leuven, both in Belgium, and Honorary Professor at Stellenbosch University (South Africa). He teaches philosophy of education and methodology of the Geisteswissenschaften (Qualitative/Interpretative Research Methods). He is the author of numerous articles focusing on Wittgenstein’s relevance for philosophy of education, on postmodernism, and on issues of the methodology of educational research. He is President of the International Network of Philosophers of Education and link-convenor for Network 13, Philosophy of Education, European Educational Research Association. He is the Editor of Ethics and Education (Taylor and Francis). Together with Nigel Blake, Richard Smith, and Paul Standish he co-authored three books, Thinking Again: Education after Postmodernism, Education in an Age of Nihilism, The Therapy of Education, and with Michael Peters and Nick Burbules Showing and Doing. With Marc Depaepe he co-edited the series Educational Research (Springer, thus far 10 books). Recent publications include a co-authored book with Richard Smith (Making Sense of Education and Educational Research, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2014) and a collection co-edited with David Bridges, Morwenna Griffiths, and Nick Burbules (International Handbook of Interpretation in Educational Research Methods, 2 vols., Springer, 2015). His latest work focuses anew on Wittgenstein’s legacy for philosophy of education. Some of that is included in the collection edited by Michael Peters and Jeff Stickney (A Companion to Wittgenstein on Education. Springer, 2017).

Bibliographic information