En debate con la educación universitaria en Colombia desde una perspectiva intercultural : el concepto de Bildung y Buen Vivir como narrativas alternativas al paradigma del Human Development

  • Auseinandersetzung mit der universitären Bildung in Kolumbien aus einer interkulturellen Perspektive : Der klassische Bildungsbegriff und Gutes Lebens als alternative Narrative zum Human Development

Romero, Carlos Alberto; Fornet-Betancourt, Raúl (Thesis advisor); Meyer, Guido (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : RWTH Aachen University (2022)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Dissertation, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, 2022


The development of a divergent narrative related to university policy of education in Colombia is necessary to contribute to the implementation of the peace agreement. To this end, the German educational concept of natural philosophy (especially according to Herder) and the Latin American concept of Buen Vivir (Good Living, living well) were brought into conversation with each other within the framework of this dissertation. For this reason, the intercultural philosophy according to the works of Raúl Fornet-Betancourt was chosen as the methodological frame. In order to approach to the concept of education, the work was done with a variety of represented narratives in Latin America, ranging from the transatlantic reception of the European idea of formation (Bildung) to the indigenous perspective of Buen Vivir. The dissertation is divided into four chapters. The first is an introduction to clarify the overarching question and methodology. The second chapter deals with the classical concept of education and its reception in Colombia following a Colonial/Post-Colonial Perspective. The content of the third chapter is the examination of the concept of human development and the description of it as colonial, in order to demonstrate their influence in the legal and political texts of the university education system and thus show their effects of its practices around the system. In the last chapter, the punchline of the dissertation unfolds by putting forward proposals for change that affect the core of the Colombian university system. Currently, in Colombia and worldwide the education system faces great challenges and expectations; the educational concept of the Buen Vivir provides an answer to these. Summa Kausai, (Inga, Putumayo), "allin kawsay" (Quechua) or "Ñue Iyena" (Murui) hold four principles that can only unfold in everyday life if a cyclical understanding of time is established. This understanding of time also includes other concepts, e.g. a culture of remembrance that, with the help of tradition and rituals, enables a pause that contributes to a constant reconciliation with nature. The four principles are relationality (all living things are interrelated), reciprocity (what we do affects others and vice versa), symmetry (humans are part of nature, not its owners) and complementarity (each living thing has its own function within the life cycle). The relationship between humans and nature can also be traced in the treatises of Herder, who applied his own "metaphorology" of nature (as also used by Goethe or Schelling). In this sense, the narratives of Romanticism and those of contemporary indigenous cosmogony follow a concordant spatiotemporal concept at their core. In order to examine the concept of memory or tradition, the rituals as practices of Indigenous spirituality are considered on the one hand, and aesthetics on the Romantic side on the other. With reference to complementarity, rituals as well as aesthetics can be related. For this reason, education of humanity is understood as a spiritual, aesthetic act. In the contemporary world, such a concept of education can even be understood subversively, because it radically opposes the globally effective paradigm of human development. Such a confrontation enables a new description of the human being (a change in anthropology) that moves away from the functional, mechanistic, calculative image of the human being. Intercultural philosophy is not only a current or methodology of the contemporary academic discussion, but also a political and ethical project, which is why a concrete change in the practice and underlying narratives of the education system is being sought. Local initiatives already exist (Etnoeducación, Educación propia, ciencia participativa, etc.), but these are developed in such regions (periphery) that do not receive attention in the central political restructuring of the university education system. Primarily, this research is an attempt to overcome the modern, artificially maintained separation of (natural) scientific disciplines and other approaches to knowledge. These ideas can be translated into a new curriculum for an intercultural university of Colombia. The concept of Buen Vivir in the Colombian context can be compared well with the meaning of education in German Romanticism: The indigenous peoples' conception of education is based on the complex interaction of spirituality and ecological community, because spirituality as liberation is the basis for the complementary relationship between the individual, society, culture and nature in each area (ecology). This gives rise to an alternative, complex and yet complete model of knowledge that can be a new concept in the reorientation of Colombian society, and thus the basis for an alternative understanding of education in the university context and in the education policy.