Existential Anxiety, Responsibility and the Political Aspects of the Family

  • Stefan RamaekersEmail author
  • Judith Suissa
Part of the Contemporary Philosophies and Theories in Education book series (COPT, volume 4)


In this chapter, we focus explicitly on some of the existential dimensions of being a parent that we have been referring to throughout the preceding chapters. We draw on various philosophical resources – Zygmunt Bauman, Stanley Cavell, Hannah Arendt – which seem to us, firstly, to capture and thematise exactly the kind of concerns we have been at pains to spell out in this book and, secondly, to open up further the kind of conversation about childrearing and the parent-child relationship which we have argued is being blocked by the dominant languages. In particular these philosophical resources enable us to open up our understanding of childrearing and the parent–child relationship beyond an understanding of it in terms of what we call a scheme of one-to-one-interactions to an understanding in terms of what it means to introduce children into a common world. We discuss the implications of this for an understanding of the concept of parental responsibility and bring to mind a political dimension to childrearing which has been lost, or at least relegated to the background, because of current predominant ways of conceptualising it.


Public Space Moral Agent Parental Responsibility Human World Public Orientation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences Laboratory for Education and SocietyKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Faculty of Policy and Society Institute of EducationUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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