A Note on the Scandals: The Role of Filmic Fantasy in Reproducing Teaching and its Transgressions

  • James StillwaggonEmail author
  • David Jelinek
Part of the Contemporary Philosophies and Theories in Education book series (COPT, volume 8)


Teachers have lately come to find themselves scandalized in the public eye, their status shifted from ascetic saints to sinners of various sorts. While the reasons for this shift are manifold, the public outcry over teacher scandals derives its force from a mistaken but powerful fantasy of the teacher as beyond desire. In this essay, we consider the contribution made to this fantasy of teaching by popular cinema. While the teaching ideal follows the same patterns as any fantasy in its negation of the social order, this negation makes the teacher’s identity particularly prone to scandal insofar as the teacher’s role is also understood as a bastion of social law. The upshot of this fantasy is that fulfilling the ideal of teaching requires breaking its laws: an impossible position that we illustrate through a varied selection of films about schooling.


Bipolar Disorder Symbolic Order Pedagogical Relationship Institutional Role Authorial Position 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationIona CollegeNew RochelleUSA
  2. 2.Collegiate School in ManhattanNew YorkUSA

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