Project seminar: Nina Kaschel

Educative Anxiety. A Pedagogical Reading of The Concept of Anxiety


In my paper I wish to explore (i) the educative aspect of anxiety as an experience of freedom’s possibility. The phenomenon of anxiety entails a formative transformation, which uncovers fundamental contradictions of one’s existence. While Kierkegaard is critical of cultural formation in the sense of enlightened Humanism, which assumes a Bildung to humanness, anxiety on the contrary guides out of misconceptions of spirit in an unwinding movement. In this Kierkegaard does not conceive of children as recipients of anxiety or spirituality, yet, I argue, that (ii) educative anxiety can fruitfully be embedded in a theory of education (Erziehung).

Introducing a pedagogical reading of The Concept of Anxiety I aim to delineate an educational practice, which reflects and is aware of anxiety as possibility for openness and contingence, while at the same time taking into account the paradox that the critique of cultural formation, or perfecting Bildung, is stimulated against the backdrop of education and reflected upbringing. (iii) Lastly, those pedagogical transformations of Kierkegaard’s thinking shall be problematised and criticised.