The integrity of education and the future of educational studies

Gert Biesta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In this paper, based on an invited keynote given at the 2022 Colloquium of the Society for Educational Studies, I explore the question of the integrity of educational studies. I ask is whether educational studies in their current configuration are able to offer resistance to the instrumentalisation of education and the push towards empirical research that is only interested in finding out what works, but is unable to engage with this question in a properly educational way. Through a reconstruction of the history of educational studies in the English-speaking world, I show how educational studies are predominantly configured as an ‘applied field’. The problem with this configuration is that educational studies lack the resources for generating educational questions about and an educational perspective on education. I show why this is a problem, also in relation to ongoing misunderstandings and misrepresentations of education. In the final part of the paper I outline two approaches, one focusing on educational concepts and one highlighting the unique and distinctive form of education, that may help to build a stronger identity for educational studies. I see this as a major challenge for the future of educational studies in the English-speaking world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-515
Number of pages23
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Studies
Issue number5
Early online date24 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Aug 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • applied field
  • autonomy of educational studies
  • discipline of education
  • educational studies
  • history of educational studies
  • integrity of education


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