Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Which emancipation? Study field trips and the production of the future citizen
Inês Félix

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


At the turn of the 20th century, progressive education aimed to produce emancipated and productive subjects through their comprehensive education. Deeply intertwined with the psychological knowledge of the child, it was supported by the belief in a “constructivist methodology” as an “essential” part of the “pedagogical operation” (Coelho 1891, 25), in which the students were to be directly and willingly engaged agents in the learning process. As a consequence, school activities based on the pupils’ experience and active participation emerged.

In many cases, though, the research focused the discourses on classroom-related practices. For this reason, the study of extracurricular activities provides a new perspective into the progressive education movement and its aims’ appropriation towards the nation-states’ agenda of national modernization through education.

Study field trips, for example, were regarded as “one of the most powerful and effective means for physical, intellectual and moral culture [that] the school has” (Faria de Vasconcelos 1923, 87) for the students to acquire both the knowledge and the competences needed to become a “useful member of society”, motivating the “child tothink and to thrive his/her character’ individuality and self-expression”  (Lima 1929, 155).

However, the preliminary analysis of the discourses on study field trips’ implementation and reported undertakings suggest the coexistence of conflicting ideas that – ultimately – undermine the desired emancipatory process.

Drawing on Jorge Ramos do Ó (2003, 2005), Thomas S. Popkewitz(2002, 2005, 2008, 2014, Popkewitz, Franklin, and Pereyra 2001) and Foucault’s (1970, 1980) theoretical frameworks, I will undertake an in-depth crossed analysis of the monographs published by pedagogues, and of the texts and reports written by teachers and students in secondary school settings that were published in the education press in Portugal between 1890s and 1930s to question ‘which emancipation?’ (Bingham and Biesta 2010).

By doing so, my aim is twofold: 1) to explore those conflicting ideas to uncover how less evident aspects of the government of the child (Popkewitz 2002, 33, Ó 2003) were present in study field trips, particularly how methodological, curricular and ideological mechanisms regulated the students’ active role; and 2) to examine the ways in which study field trips regarding historical heritages, industrial processes, natural objects and landscapes were connected to narratives of national progress and belonging. This will allow a critical perspective on the role played by study field trips in the making of the future citizen (Tröhler, Popkewitz, and Labaree 2011).