Confronting the Other: Understanding Empathy
Keywords: empathy, humanities education, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, love, education for social justice
AbstractThe concept of empathy is strongly at play across the field of education. In analyzing literature from which this concept both emerges and presently appears, this review elaborates on what empathy affords the educational enterprise. Drawing from theorists from diverse fields of inquiry, among them education research, phenomenology, and psychoanalysis, we focus on the limits of empathy while questioning what lies beyond. We find that deployments of empathy might actually create more distance between self and other rather than bring about more understanding across difference. Further, in looking at the literature on empathy there is an insufficient attention to broader social considerations that impact understandings of the other. In light of what we find to be problematic about the idea and uses of empathy in education, the paper concludes with speculations about how practicing educators might adequately address the inherent problems within learning across difference.
How to Cite
Garrett, J., & Greenwalt, K. (2010). Confronting the Other: Understanding Empathy. Current Issues in Education, 13(4). Retrieved from https://cie.asu.edu/ojs/index.php/cieatasu/article/view/346
Authors hold the copyright to articles published in Current Issues in Education. Requests to reprint CIE articles in other journals should be addressed to the author. Reprints should credit CIE as the original publisher and include the URL of the CIE publication. Permission is hereby granted to copy any article, provided CIE is credited and copies are not sold.