Education, education, education: Reflections on a missing dimension

Gert Biesta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter I suggest that education always needs to orient itself in relation to three purposes or domains of purpose. I refer to these as qualification, socialisation and subjectification and discuss what the three might mean in the domain of religious education. I focus specifically on the distinction between socialisation and subjectification, as both ‘modalities’ of education have to do with the formation of the student as person. Whereas socialisation is engaged with the formation of the student from the ‘outside,’ which can be understood as a process of cultivation, subjectification is the process where, as educators, we encourage students to take up their own subject-ness, that is, to become subjects of their own life, rather than objects of what other people or forces may want them to be. That our existence as subject is called into being from the outside, suggests the importance of education vis-à-vis the question of our existence as subject and shows that religion and education may be more closely connected than what is often assumed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligion and Education
Subtitle of host publicationThe Forgotten Dimensions of Religious Education?
EditorsGert Biesta, Patricia Hannam
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9789004446397
ISBN (Print)9789004446380, 9789004446373
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2020


  • cultivation
  • learnification
  • purposes of education
  • religious education
  • subjectification


Dive into the research topics of 'Education, education, education: Reflections on a missing dimension'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this