The phenomenological turn in education. The legacy of Piero Bertolini’s theory


  • Letizia Caronia Università di Bologna



education, Husserl, intentionality, life-world, natural attitude, phenomenology, phenomenological pedagogy, social constructionism, socio-materiality, theoretical attitude


At the end of the Fifties, an Italian scholar, Piero Bertolini, provided a phenomenology-based theoretical framework for rethinking education that largely anticipated the phenomenological turn that was to impact social sciences in the following decades. By founding his proposal on Husserl’s phenomenology, Bertolini proposed a major theoretical shift in educational theory, research and practice: from “what reality (i.e. natural facts, other peoples’ behaviour, traditions, established social order, everyday routines, early years etc.) does to people” to “what people make or can make of it”. This anti-deterministic stance is probably the best known side of his work, yet Bertolini never claimed an omnipotent mind nor did he conceive the socialisation process as occurring in a social, cultural or material vacuum. On the contrary, he stressed the constitutive role of reality on whatever a mind can make of it. By outlining Bertolini’s main theoretical claims and discussing his ground-breaking contribution to the 20 th century scholarship in education, this essay introduces this special issue dedicated to the contemporary relevance of his theory of education.




How to Cite

Caronia, L. (2018). The phenomenological turn in education. The legacy of Piero Bertolini’s theory. Ricerche Di Pedagogia E Didattica. Journal of Theories and Research in Education, 13(2), 1–22.