Volume 24, Issue 2, Spring 2020
Marc Crépon, D. J. S. Cross, Tyler M. Williams
The Invention of Singularity in School
This essay situates “singularity” at the heart of the power dynamics operative in contemporary pedagogy and the system supporting it. More than merely academic learning, indeed, “school” here denotes not only the range of disciplinary authorities at work within the classroom and the educational system at large but also discursive obedience to knowledge. Supported by close readings of Arendt and Derrida, this paper thus argues that nothing less than the formation of identity is at stake in “school.” What are the boundaries, limits, and conditions of possibility for a student’s invention of his or her own singularity within an institution and curriculum that, at the same time, demands obedience to authority? This paradoxical formation of identity within the constrictive demands of authority constitutes the primary task of thinking the “invention of singularity” at the heart of schooling in conjunction with democracy, language, vocation, and ideology.