Bettina Fritzsche

Jenseits des Fremdverstehens: Übersetzungstheoretische Impulse für die Vergleichende Erziehungswissenschaft


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The article discusses the extent to which comparative educational science can benefit from an understanding of comparison as a process of translation, based on the assumption that the operation of comparison and the operation of translation have strong structural similarities. In this context, the article refers to debates about the possibilities and limits of a difference-, power-, and contextsensitive comparison in educational science and corresponding methodological considerations in the context of qualitative social research. With reference to considerations of the anthropologist Malinowski on the importance of translation in ethnographic studies, the thesis is put forward that the project of adequately grasping a temporarily foreign field through research is always connected with the task of comprehending a foreign system of meaning in its respective context-boundness and ultimately translating it against the backdrop of a familiar system of meaning. The objective of ‘methodically controlled foreign understanding’ proclaimed in qualitative social research is contrasted with a model of comparison understood as translation, which produces ‘dense translations’ instead of terminated results aiming at generalisations. With reference to relevant methodological debates and several research examples, the consequences of an understanding of comparative education as a process of translation are explored and its added value is discussed.

Fritzsche B. (2021). Jenseits des Fremdverstehens: Übersetzungstheoretische Impulse für die Vergleichende Erziehungswissenschaft. Tertium Comparationis, 27(2), 116-140.