It is important to understand that subjectification is NOT an intentional
compliance or conformity with society’s pre-conceived ideas of what it means to be
human. It is a person coming to the realization that his or her very presence in the world
adds to and expands the very definition of what it means to be human. “The idea of
‘coming into presence’ articulates an educational interest in human subjectivity and
subjectification but does so without a template, i.e., without a predefined idea about what
it means to be and exist as a human being” (Biesta, 2010, pp. 80-81). As Bingham and
Biesta (2010) underscore, subjectification is “a way of being that had no place and no
part in the existing order of things. Subjectification is therefore a supplement to the
existing order because it adds something to this order…” (p. 33). In other words,
subjectification is not socialization forged in the context of humanism (Biesta, 2010),
where one merely identifies with already established definitions of what it means to be
human. Rather, it is the realized presence of a newcomer expressing organic, original
utterances in time and space that carry with them “the power to ‘decompose and
recompose’ a particular distribution of the sensible” (Bingham & Biesta, 2010, p. 140), in
effect reconfiguring the existing order of things by their very expression.
Understood in this way, we see that subjectification, and by derivation, education,
to be strongly concerned with the issue of human freedom. Immanuel Kant established a
link between education and freedom (Biesta, 2010). Kant saw the issue of human
freedom, understood as “self-determination,” as “the central issue for modern education”
(Biesta, 2010, p. 77). What is education for? It is for subjectification. That is to say, it is
for the expansion of human freedom contextualized in the ability of the individual to live
a self-determined life. This is not a freedom that says one can do whatever one wants
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