Hogstad, K., H. (2020): Can we kill the Bildung king? The quest for a non-sovereign concept of Bildung
Bildung has lost its critical potential, some thinkers worry, but I put forward that this might not necessarily be the case. Jan Masschelein and Norbert Ricken argue that modernity has seen Bildung and bio-power grow complicit, effectively negating Bildung’s critical edge by turning criticism into a necessary aspect of contemporary society. However, a development of this sort seems to demand a view of both Bildung and bio-power as sovereign entities that subvert the individuals who constitute them. I challenge this view by reference to Catherine Malabou's philosophy. Malabou argues that bio-power (and here consequently Bildung) seems to suffer from a residual sovereign element which upholds a separation between a material and a symbolic mode of life, even if bio-power was originally thought as a break with sovereign thinking altogether. Malabou’s engagement with the biological concept epigenesis by way of her own concept plasticity provides an ostensibly non-sovereign approach to bio-power, one that emphasizes change, creativity, accident, and reciprocal influence. I suggest that this point of view might challenge the apparent sovereignty of bio-power and open up for a non-sovereign formulation of Bildung.