Transgressive Learning: A Possible Vista in Higher Education?

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Book Chapter

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Body Language, Rhythmic Movement, Pedagogical Relationship, Dance Movement, Private Lesson

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



A key question for most societies is how to prepare young people for the demands of their future work and life environment. However, as Ronald Barnett (High Educ Res Dev 23(3):247–1260, 2004) remarks, ‘learning for an unknown future calls for an ontological turn from knowledge to being-in-the-world’, which makes its own demands. Being in the world calls for one’s opening up to new experiences, throwing oneself into a state of effort, engagement and inspiration.

In this chapter, the authors autoethnographically investigate mentoring and supervision as transgressive learning, as a mode of breaking the bounds of convention. The examples are mostly drawn from the context of research education. Marjatta Saarnivaara and Carolyn Ellis illuminate transgressive processes through their diverse experiences as teachers, as well as considering their pedagogical relevance in the process. Additionally, Saarnivaara presents her pedagogical viewpoint from an eccentric perspective, that is, as a novice who passionately wants to learn to dance salsa in her late middle age. Her change in perspective turned out to be an instructive experience. The third author, Helka-Maria Kinnunen, highlights her experiences and pedagogical viewpoint from the angle of being a doctoral student, a dream she got caught up in during the early phase of her own transgressive process.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Transgressive Learning: A Possible Vista in Higher Education, in P. Tynjälä, M. L. Stenström & M. Saarnivaara (Eds.), Transitions and Transformations in Learning and Education, Springer, p. 307-325