Achievement as Paradigm – Towards a History and Theory of a Pedagogical Concept

The book project reconstructs “achievement” as a pedagogical concept in the context of its cultural-historical development and transformations. At the same time, the self-evidence and logic of what counts as “achievement” is deconstructed.

Projekt Description

“Achievement” functions as a kind of “a priori” assumption of modern pedagogy. Not only world-wide comparative pupil achievement studies (e.g.: PISA), but also the emphatic debates about the problem of the reproduction of social inequality in and through education confirm and emphasize that achievement is not only a structural moment of school practices, but perhaps has even become the core of a now-universal human self understanding.

But achievement is anything but a self-evident, readily apparent, or even natural phenomenon, as is made clear in the various chapters of the planned monograph:

  • social constructivist and praxeological approaches show the practical constitution of what is referred to as achievement;
  • historical inquiry recreates the genesis of the paradigm, and contrasts it with earlier alternatives which, while not necessarily better, have substantially different contours;
  • and finally subjectivation theoretical consideration investigates the formation of the “modern subject” as a bundle of abilities and/or the potential to have abilities and therefore achievement, and which the individual is then responsible for and defined by.


Reh, Sabine/Ricken, Norbert (Hrsg.): Leistung als Paradigma. Zur Entstehung und Transformation eines pädagogischen Konzepts. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH – Springer VS, 2018. (Online: 10.1007/978-3-658-15799-9)


Project Management

Project Details

Project type: Publishing project
Completed Projects
01/2015 – 05/2018
Research field: Pedagogical Knowledge – Institutions, Practices and Actors
Contact: Sabine Reh