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Learning marginality Images of the childhood of beggars and vagabonds in the literature of nineteenth‐century Europe

Learning marginality Images of the childhood of beggars and vagabonds in the literature of... Purpose – In the Europe of the nineteenth century, a significant increase in abandoned children was caused by demographic pressures and growing economic difficulties that progressively afflicted the lowest social strata of the population. Those who had neither family, nor school, educated themselves in the streets or learned from patron‐tutors who aspired to produce a specific social subject, channelizing their “congenitally” subversive tendencies through a certain kind of structured apprenticeship. This model of education (or “bad education”) can be defined as the formalization, paradoxically devoid of symbols and alphabet, of the experience of the street within a specific system of knowledge. The purpose of this paper is to seek to encounter in literary sources the traces of the education of these marginalized children. Design/methodology/approach – The authors intend to study, by means of the testimony of novels, the mentality of this historic period and the phenomenon of this very different kind of childhood. The epistemological and methodological viewpoint that is adopted is both ethnographic and historical, since the authors are attempting to understand and establish the evolving nexuses and dynamics of the educational phenomenon that is the object of the investigation. Findings – The central objective of this investigation lies in the notion of “bad education”. By “bad education” the authors mean the presence of an educational itinerary, an acculturation, a personality formation, and a professionalization that have all strayed from the dominant, hegemonic social models. This “model” of education forms part of the prevailing educational philosophy of a particular epoch and historical situation, as demonstrated throughout this paper. Originality/value – This paper proposes an operation of educational archaeology. However, this operation can contribute to an epistemological awareness that can greatly benefit both the pedagogical reflections of our time and the educations of so many marginalized children who inhabit the destitute streets of the contemporary metropolis. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Education Review Emerald Publishing

Learning marginality Images of the childhood of beggars and vagabonds in the literature of nineteenth‐century Europe

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0819-8691
DOI
10.1108/08198691211235563
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – In the Europe of the nineteenth century, a significant increase in abandoned children was caused by demographic pressures and growing economic difficulties that progressively afflicted the lowest social strata of the population. Those who had neither family, nor school, educated themselves in the streets or learned from patron‐tutors who aspired to produce a specific social subject, channelizing their “congenitally” subversive tendencies through a certain kind of structured apprenticeship. This model of education (or “bad education”) can be defined as the formalization, paradoxically devoid of symbols and alphabet, of the experience of the street within a specific system of knowledge. The purpose of this paper is to seek to encounter in literary sources the traces of the education of these marginalized children. Design/methodology/approach – The authors intend to study, by means of the testimony of novels, the mentality of this historic period and the phenomenon of this very different kind of childhood. The epistemological and methodological viewpoint that is adopted is both ethnographic and historical, since the authors are attempting to understand and establish the evolving nexuses and dynamics of the educational phenomenon that is the object of the investigation. Findings – The central objective of this investigation lies in the notion of “bad education”. By “bad education” the authors mean the presence of an educational itinerary, an acculturation, a personality formation, and a professionalization that have all strayed from the dominant, hegemonic social models. This “model” of education forms part of the prevailing educational philosophy of a particular epoch and historical situation, as demonstrated throughout this paper. Originality/value – This paper proposes an operation of educational archaeology. However, this operation can contribute to an epistemological awareness that can greatly benefit both the pedagogical reflections of our time and the educations of so many marginalized children who inhabit the destitute streets of the contemporary metropolis.

Journal

History of Education ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 22, 2012

Keywords: Childhood marginalization; Homeless children; Social exclusion; Nineteenth century Europe; Literary sources; Underworld education; Redemptive pedagogy; Europe; Nineteenth century; Homelessness

References