Black pedagogy

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Black pedagogy is a catchphrase in the pedagogy discourse of the German-speaking area in the 20th and 21st centuries. In a narrow sense, the term pejorative denotes the education of the Enlightenment and philanthropism . At the center of Enlightenment pedagogy, which emerged at the end of the 18th century, was the idea that in order to achieve full self-determination and the highest humanity, humans must leave their nature behind and come to their senses .

Since the end of the 19th century, the reform pedagogy had been very successful against the idea of ​​the need to eradicate children's nature. Many educationalists, especially those who were close to anti-authoritarian upbringing , saw the education of the Enlightenment still at work in the second half of the 20th century, including Katharina Rutschky , who in 1977 provided a psychoanalytic interpretation of the Enlightenment-pedagogical ideas that it provided now referred to as “black pedagogy”. Alice Miller worked on her studies In the Beginning Was Education (1980) and You Shall Not Notice (1981) Rutschky's psychoanalytic considerations further.

In a broader sense, black pedagogy is also to be understood as a catchphrase for any education that uses educational means such as violence, intimidation and humiliation. Often times, the educator is attributed with an intention to elevate himself personally.

Historical educational context: Enlightenment pedagogy

The texts of the "black pedagogy", which Katharina Rutschky collected in her book of the same name, date, with few exceptions, from the period from 1748 to 1908. This literature began at the turn of the modern age , at a time when education became one Topic that was covered in journals and books for the general public.

Education in the bourgeoisie no longer takes place naturally, but as a conscious and purposeful formation of the human being, which - in accordance with the spirit of the Enlightenment - was aimed at wresting human beings from nature , emancipating them from fateful fate and making them human so that they could be able to shape the world on their own. The Enlightenment believers assumed that reason cannot be acquired directly through upbringing, but only through education . The former is directed by the teacher, the latter by the student himself. In order to be able to educate people, however, according to the Enlightenment, their nature must be disciplined and brought under control. In order for the child to become educable, his “wildness” and “brutality” must first be driven out. Enlightenment pedagogy aimed at mastering nature . “One of the main elements of education is discipline, which has the purpose of breaking the child's own will so that the purely sensual and natural may be exploited. Here one does not have to think that one is only getting along with kindness; for it is precisely the immediate will that acts according to immediate ideas and desires, not according to reasons and ideas, ” wrote Hegel in 1820 in his Basic Lines of Philosophy of Law .

Reception of educational pedagogy and philanthropism by Rutschky and Miller

At the center of the criticism that Rutschky and others made of the educational philosophy of the Enlightenment and of philanthropism are the anthropological premise of evil in the child and the claim of the advocates of this educational philosophy that cruelty against the child's nature serves reason .

Rutschky's and Miller's engagement with Enlightenment pedagogy was preceded by writings by Michel Foucault . In 1975, in Surveillance and Punishment , Foucault developed the thesis that disciplinary institutions on the threshold of the 19th century had chosen a new "economy of punishment" and transferred the training of the body to one of the soul.


Katharina Rutschky, who worked at the FU Berlin as an SDS member a. a. studied with Klaus Mollenhauer and the psychoanalyst Gerhard Maetze and then worked as a teacher, published an extensive volume in 1977 with compiled pedagogical writings from several centuries, which she had originally collected for a planned doctoral thesis, entitled Black Pedagogy . Your engagement with these educational writings was seen as a contribution to the defense of the anti-authoritarian educational movement of your time.

In the commentary sections, Rutschky interpreted the historical texts using the terminology of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory . She assumed that upbringing was a modern phenomenon and only emerged in the course of the 19th century. In the light of psychoanalytic theory, the superego is the seat of morality in the soul household of the socialized individuals ; According to Rutschky's interpretation, the role of the educator (parents, teacher), who is responsible for the moral development of the child, is to establish the superego in the child. This presupposes that the child is subjected to the educator .

According to Rutschky, instinctual defense plays a central role in this education . The sexuality will because they urge an instinctive run-off behavior, considered to be particularly dangerous in the black pedagogy; the young person must be distracted from her by strict educational measures. Rutschky assumed that the educator himself was narcissistically disturbed, suffered massively from the cruel superego and was afraid of the unbridled child. To overcome this fear and to ward off his own tormenting urges, the educator subjects the child to an "educational initiation ", followed by instrumentalized death threats, physical and psychological violence, pain, punishment, control, surveillance, hardening and the taboo of sexuality. Education serves here as an alibi and as a rationalization with which the educator disguises his sadism . The love between mother and child is made contemptible in the context of black pedagogy as " love for monkeys " and branded as the cause of every lack of character and stupidity of the child.


Alice Miller had started her career as a psychoanalyst, but later distanced herself from psychoanalysis in order to consider herself a “childhood researcher”. She recognized the mechanisms of "black pedagogy" named by Rutschky with the means of psychoanalysis in her first theoretical home ("black psychoanalysis") and finally turned away in a process of theoretical rethinking (Miller 1979, 1980, 1983).

The focus of their criticism was initially on an upbringing that aims to adapt the child's behavior unilaterally to parental needs. Miller hypothesized that such upbringing resulted in the formation of a "false self" in the child. The false self is a concept that the English psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott introduced into psychoanalytic discourse in 1960 to characterize the behavior of people who show no authenticity because they seem to have built a facade around themselves for their self-protection.

While the “Drama of the Gifted Child” (1979) was still dominated by internal psychoanalysis school disputes ( drive theory vs. self-psychology according to Kohut ), she quoted Rutschky's collection of texts in detail in “At the Beginning Was Education” (1980) and adopts its concept of “Black Education “, Which she compares with her experiences as a therapist and the case histories from her former practice. It appropriates Rutschky's term as a fundamental concept critical of ideology and at the same time goes beyond Rutschky's psychoanalytically founded criticism

“(...) with the aim of characterizing an attitude that appears more or less openly not only in the fascist but also in various ideologies. The contempt and persecution of the living, the creative, the emotional in the child and in one's own self pervade so many areas of our life that we hardly notice them anymore. With different intensity and under different sanctions, but almost everywhere there is a tendency to get rid of the childlike, that is, the weak, helpless, dependent being as quickly as possible in order to finally become the big, independent, capable being that deserves respect. If we meet this being again in our children, we pursue it with similar means as we already did with ourselves, and we call it upbringing. "

- Alice Miller (1980)

For Miller, black pedagogy was not an educational position that was tied to a specific intellectual-historical context (Enlightenment, philanthropism, Herbartianism , National Socialism ) and could be explained from this, but rather an educational situation outside history, which resulted solely from the abuse of power by Educators who act out of a precarious mental state result:

"By 'black pedagogy' I understand an education that is aimed at breaking the child's will, to make them an obedient subject with the help of the open or hidden exercise of power, manipulation and blackmail."

- A. Miller : Eva's Awakening, 2001

As a consequence, this criticism led to a decidedly anti-educational stance in the tradition of Ekkehard von Braunmühl . According to Miller, there is also no such thing as “white pedagogy”, as Rutschky's term implies. The problem is the pedagogical stance in general, which only serves the needs of adults and passes on their problematic socialization by, for example, passing on the humiliation they once suffered to others in the compulsion to repeat. Victims of upbringing become perpetrators of upbringing: "Educators - not children - need pedagogy."

In You Shall Not Remember (1983) Miller worked out how children can be made not to notice when they are subjected to forms of violence, including sexual abuse, in the name of "education" . Miller showed how people later glorify the abuse they experienced as children and pass it on to the next generation as parents. Miller also saw the transfiguration and cover-up of parental violence at work in psychoanalysis, which she referred to in this context as "black psychoanalysis".


Harald Wölfel-Schramm took up the term "black pedagogy" in 1991 as part of his defense of anti-pedagogy .

The educational scientist Friedrich Koch ( University of Hamburg ) tried in 1995 to locate the “black pedagogy”, which Rutschky and Miller saw ahistorically and strictly psychoanalytically, in a social and intellectual historical context. Koch saw black pedagogy as a more or less closed educational philosophy with which civil society tried to orient children and young people towards their canon of virtues since the 18th century.

Armin Bernhard, Professor of Education at the University of Duisburg-Essen , backed Rutschky's and Miller's reflections in a magazine article in 2008, but regretted that the discussion of black education during the “anti-authoritarian revolt” remained a “flash in the pan”. Instead of a sustainable implementation of the anti-authoritarian principles in society, there was a partial absorption of the criticism by the capitalist system, which it used for an economically functional liberalization of education. The black pedagogy - as "massive denial and suppression of children's developmental needs" - continues unabated: in a changed, more subtle, and thus unassailable form.


The concept of "black pedagogy" was often classified in the specialist literature as scientifically unsustainable. As early as 1992 , Zvi Lothane submitted a comprehensive criticism of the corresponding branding of Moritz Schreber , Daniel Paul Schreber 's father ; Rutschky had classified Schreber as one of the main representatives of “black pedagogy”.

On the other hand, Rutschky and Miller were accused of a narrowing view of the education of the Enlightenment and of philanthropism. As Christian Grabau ( University of Tübingen ) explained in 2013 , punishment for philanthropism was neither the first means nor was it simply an instrument of oppression. The primary means of education in this pedagogy were observation and listening, and only then exercise and command.

In 2014 Juliane Kühn complained that Rutschky had not formulated a definition of the term “black pedagogy”. Rutschky describes as "black pedagogy" without distinction everything that, according to today's pedagogical theory and practice, contradicts the humane sense of education - leading the child to maturity. Rutschky selected the source texts compiled in her book from the corpus of the educational literature of the Enlightenment and the philanthropists in such a way that they represent what she herself calls “black pedagogy”.

In 2016, Michael Milburn and Sheree Conrad also criticized Miller for proceeding in their analyzes as if upbringing took place in a vacuum, with no historical context: “How we treat our children reflects who we are and what we believe as a society. Our social and political attitudes, our institutions and our educational practices produce the next generation of citizens who, through their social institutions and through their political behavior, in turn create the world in which their children will live. "


Selection of the texts compiled by Rutschky

Education of the Enlightenment


In addition, texts by Karl Friedrich Bahrdt , Johann Heinrich Campe , Friedrich Gedike , Johann Christoph Friedrich GutsMuths , Friedrich Gabriel Resewitz , Friedrich Eberhard von Rochow , Christian Gotthilf Salzmann , Ernst Christian Trapp , Peter Villaume and Christian Heinrich Wolke were recorded.


Individual evidence

  1. Werner Sesink: Introduction to Pedagogy . Lit, Münster, Hamburg, London 2001, ISBN 3-8258-5830-8 , pp. 70 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  2. ^ "Black pedagogy" in the NGram Viewer. Retrieved November 15, 2018 .
  3. Katharina Rutschky (ed.): Black pedagogy: Sources for the natural history of civil education . Ullstein, Berlin 1977, ISBN 978-3-548-35670-9 . Eberhard Huebner: Black pedagogy. Documents on the history of education. In: The time. June 3, 1977, Retrieved November 21, 2018 (review). Katharina Rutschky (ed.): Black pedagogy . Retrieved November 21, 2018 (Table of Contents).
  4. Werner Sesink: Introduction to Pedagogy . Lit, Münster, Hamburg, London 2001, ISBN 3-8258-5830-8 , pp. 69 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  5. Werner Sesink: Introduction to Pedagogy . Lit, Münster, Hamburg, London 2001, ISBN 3-8258-5830-8 , pp. 69 f., 78 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  6. Werner Sesink: Introduction to Pedagogy . Lit, Münster, Hamburg, London 2001, ISBN 3-8258-5830-8 , pp. 87 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  7. Immanuel Kant: About pedagogy
  8. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: Basic lines of the philosophy of law, or natural law and political science in the outline . Duncker and Humblot, Berlin 1833, p. 236 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  9. ^ Theresa Hauff: Black Pedagogy. The horror of "pampering, pampering, forgiving" in a temporal comparison . (Student thesis, 2014). Werner Sesink: Introduction to Pedagogy . Lit, Münster, Hamburg, London 2001, ISBN 3-8258-5830-8 , pp. 82 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  10. Hendrik Werner: Docile body, flexible mind. In: The world. September 5, 2003, accessed November 29, 2018 .
  11. Katharina Rutschky. Archived from the original on December 22, 2007 ; accessed on November 21, 2018 .
  12. ^ Elisabeth von Stechow: Return to black pedagogy? About super nannies and other educational emergencies . In: Margret Dörr, Birgit Herz (Ed.): “Uncultures” in education and upbringing . VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2009, ISBN 978-3-531-16088-7 , p. 135–149, here p. 136 .
  13. Katharina Rutschky (Ed.): Black Pedagogy. Sources on the natural history of civic education . Ullstein, 2001, ISBN 978-3-548-35087-5 , pp. XL (first edition: 1977).
  14. Katharina Rutschky (Ed.): Black Pedagogy. Sources on the natural history of civic education . Ullstein, Frankfurt / Main 2001, ISBN 978-3-548-35087-5 , pp. 102, 148 (first edition: 1977).
  15. Katharina Rutschky (Ed.): Black Pedagogy. Sources on the natural history of civic education . Ullstein, Frankfurt / Main 1984, p. LVI, 299-375 (first edition: 1977).
  16. Katharina Rutschky (Ed.): Black Pedagogy. Sources on the natural history of civic education . Ullstein, 2001, ISBN 978-3-548-35087-5 , pp. 3-24, 158 ff., 184 ff., 250-298 (first edition: 1977).
  17. Katharina Rutschky (Ed.): Black Pedagogy. Sources on the natural history of civic education . Ullstein, 2001, ISBN 978-3-548-35087-5 , pp. 376 ff . (First edition: 1977).
  18. Katharina Rutschky (Ed.): Black Pedagogy. Sources on the natural history of civic education . Ullstein, 2001, ISBN 978-3-548-35087-5 , pp. 24 (first edition: 1977).
  19. Alice Miller: The Drama of the Gifted Child and the Search for the True Self . Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-518-73925-9 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  20. Donald W. Winnicott: Ego Distortion in Terms of True and False Self (1960) . In: The Maturational Process and the Facilitating Environment: Studies in the Theory of Emotional Development . International UP Inc., New York 1965, p. 140-152 .
  21. Alice Miller (1980), In the Beginning Was Education ; here Suhrkamp (st), vol. 951 (1992), p. 76 f.
  22. a b Michael A. Milburn and Sheree D. Conrad: Raised to Anger. The Politics of Anger and the Roots of Authoritarianism . The MIT Press, Cambridge, London 2016, ISBN 978-0-262-53325-6 , pp. 5 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  23. Alice Miller (1980), In the Beginning Was Education ; here Suhrkamp (st), vol. 951 (1992), p. 117 ff.
  24. Carola Kuhlmann: Upbringing and education: Introduction to the history and topicality of educational theories . Springer, Wiesbaden 2013, ISBN 978-3-531-19386-1 , pp. 84 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  25. Alice Miller: You shouldn't notice , Frankfurt am Main 1981, p. 29ff and a.
  26. Miller: You shouldn't notice. Frankfurt am Main 1981, p. 29.
  27. Harald Wölfel-Schramm: The shadow realm of anti-pedagogy . Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1992, ISBN 3-631-44442-7 (Diss. Gießen 1991).
  28. Friedrich Koch: The Kaspar Hauser Effect. About dealing with children . VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 1995, ISBN 978-3-8100-1359-0 , doi : 10.1007 / 978-3-322-99376-2 ( limited preview in Google book search).
  29. ^ Armin Bernhard: The permanence of black pedagogy and the principle of the anti-authoritarian in education . In: Yearbook for Pedagogy . 2008, p. 71-90 , doi : 10.3726 / 59064_71 .
  30. Zvi Lothane: In defense of Schreber: soul murder and psychiatry . Hillsdale, NJ [u. a.]: Analytic Pr. 1992 ISBN 0-88163-103-5 .
  31. ^ Christian Grabau: Making life: Education and biopower . Wilhelm Fink, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-8467-5579-2 , p. 9 f . ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  32. ^ Juliane Kühn: Aims and Methods in Black Education . Bachelor Master Publishing, Hamburg 2014, ISBN 978-3-95820-015-9 , pp. 5 ( limited preview in the Google book search - Bachelor thesis, Evangelical University for Social Work Dresden, June 2012).