A Phenomenographic Study of Youth Conceptualizations of Evil: Order-Words and the Politics of Evil

Abstract

Students in secondary social studies examine descriptions of historical events and rhetoric by politicians that utilize the word and concept of evil. The label of evil can evoke specific images, feelings, and thoughts; oversimplify historical and contemporary situations; and decrease students’ sense of agency. This phenomenographical study included individual semi-structured interviews and focus groups. The outcome space revealed five referential aspects: evil as images, evil as affects (bodily) and effects (cognitive), evil as something that is abnormal and/or extraordinary, evil as human, and evil as subjective. One salient implication of this study is that teachers, textbook authors, and curriculum designers need to more explicitly engage with naming and describing evil in social studies education in the context of Deleuze and Guattari’s (1980/2008) order-words.

Author Biography

Cathryn van Kessel, University of Alberta
Cathryn van Kessel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Secondary Education at the University of Alberta in Canada.
Published
2018-01-09
How to Cite
van Kessel, C. (2018). A Phenomenographic Study of Youth Conceptualizations of Evil: Order-Words and the Politics of Evil. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue Canadienne De l’éducation, 40(4), 576-602. Retrieved from https://journals.sfu.ca/cje/index.php/cje-rce/article/view/3105
Section
Articles