Call for papers

“Contemporary Adolescence and Uncertain Environment” Network

Imaginary adolescent, Imaginary adolescents

3rd International Symposium in Education and Training Sciences at Milano Bicocca University

Tuesday 24, Wednesday 25 May 2022

The 3rd edition of the international conference in education and training sciences of the international interdisciplinary research network Contemporary Adolescence and Uncertain Environment (ACEI) will be held on May 24 and 25, 2022 at the Universita ‘degli Studi di Milano Bicocca (Milan , Italy). This third conference follows the one organized by the Amiens education and training research center (CAREF) in 2015 at the University of Picardy Jules Verne (UPJV). The second conference took place at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) in Lebanon and was co-organized by CAREF and USEK, in partnership with the École, mutations, apprentissages (EMA) laboratory of the University of Cergy-Pontoise, the Clinical education and training team of the CIRCEFT laboratory, University of Paris 8, the Knowledge team, relation to knowledge and transmission process of the University of Paris Nanterre as well as the INSPÉ of the academy of Amiens Hauts-de-France. The first colloquium was devoted to the identity construction of adolescents in an uncertain environment in 2015. The second colloquium made it possible to consider the transition and social transformations around the idea of ​​ending-interminable adolescence in 2018. The third colloquium will be interested in adolescent processes based on the notion of the imaginary. It will be co-organized by Bicocca University and CAREF (UPJV) in partnership with the University of Paris 8, the University of Rouen and the INSPÉ of the Amiens Academy.

In the current context marked by pandemic, ecological, economic, or even socio-educational crises, society’s gaze is regularly fixed on adolescent distress with concern. How to open up prospects for fruitful reflections without succumbing to a discourse focused on pessimism about the new generations and their capacity to reinvent another future?

Donald Winnicott provides us with a first avenue for taking a step back by viewing adolescence as a social barometer. Even more, he explains, our interest in adolescence is itself linked to the social conditions of our time. Therefore, being interested in adolescents prompts us to also think about our modalities of operation and to question the place in which we place them.

As such, the notion of the imaginary seems particularly suitable for dealing with the question of contemporary adolescence. While it is evacuated by technical approaches centered on concrete solutions, we want to put it at the heart of our reflections.

We will focus on the imagination of adolescents, but also on the place of adolescence in our imagination. What does adolescence mean to adults? What hopes, what fears does it arouse? What do professionals say about adolescents? But also, what discourse is held on adolescents or on adolescence through the noticeable conceptual evolutions?

Since Freud, the imaginary has been apprehended through distinct theoretical references (Lacan, Castoriadis, Winnicott, Mannoni, etc.). However, through the notion of the imaginary, these authors agree to account for the force of psychic life by emphasizing that internal reality, phantasmal life, guides the subject in the perception and construction of external reality. Therefore, it is not about opposing reality to the imaginary, but revisiting the notion of the imaginary to understand its implications. We will try to understand the essential place it holds for the subject and its function during the adolescent transition. These studies will allow us to think about the specific issues and challenges that characterize the work of professionals with adolescents. How then can education, traditionally centered on the development of reason, deal with the question of the imaginary?

From these reflections, we propose several themes to question:

  • We will question the function and dead ends of the imaginary in education. Creativity plays an essential role in the adolescent construction process, as Hélène Deutsch and Philippe Gutton have pointed out, to the point that a lack of imagination could testify to fragility. Rather than reducing the imaginary to the imagination, we propose to apprehend it in its relationship to desire, to the construction of the image of oneself and that of one’s ideals. But beyond these metapsychological aspects and their peculiarities in the adolescent passage, we will also reflect on the questions that arise in a society where the image is king and where the virtual prevails. How can adults cope with it, especially in the field of education?

  • In addition, during this conference we will discuss the link between internal / external reality and the imaginary. The articulation of these two realities (internal, external) is a central problem in adolescence, in view of the intensity of the changes linked to bodily and psychic metamorphoses leading the adolescent to deal with a reshuffle of the imagination where combine sexuality, fantasy and reality. The adolescent experiences this need for external objects in order to assign them the role of organizers (E. Kestemberg) for his internal reality. Indeed, this back and forth between internal reality and “objects of external investment” (P. Jeammet, 1980) allows the adolescent to imagine a form of mastery of his crossing.

    How to work with adolescents on the border between the two sides of internal reality and external reality? This question leads us to reflect on what may have played out for adolescents in these closed spaces during the containment linked to the pandemic. How did they experience this particular period of forced confinement? If we examine current changes, even social transformations and mutations such as climate change, the health and social crisis, the transition from education to online education, how do they affect the adolescent imagination, on their way of imagining a new world? What benchmarks do adolescents find in today’s world? What type of reception space? How to rethink the conditions of the meeting between adolescents and professionals?

  • In a third theme, we invite communicators to present their work and their reflections on the articulation between pedagogy, adolescence and imagination. The notion of the imaginary has been the subject of numerous studies in the field of educational research. For example, J. Chateau published in 1946 a work entitled Le Réel et imaginaire dans le jeu de l’Enfant. In educational sciences, M. Postic (1979; 1989) was a proponent of a pedagogy which allowed students to “free their imaginations”. This is particularly the case in the Freinet movement with regard to the techniques of text and free drawing. Some authors have even campaigned for a pedagogy of the imaginary (G. Jean, 1976). What imaginary figures of adolescents support the teaching ideas? What developments? What educational practices with adolescents to make room or develop their imagination? What uses of the notion of the imaginary in the history of pedagogy? What links between creativity and imagination? What are the conditions for educational creativity for professionals?

This conference in the sciences of education and training will allow us to shed light on the complexity of the imagination in adolescence, sometimes a vitalizing source, but sometimes also limiting, even foreclosure, in the face of traumatic life challenges.

Steering committee

– Arnaud Dubois, Université de Rouen.
– Patrick Geffard, Université Paris 8.
– Antoine Kattar, Université Picardie Jules Verne.
– Dominique Méloni, Université Picardie Jules Verne.
– Jole Orsenigo, Université Milano Bicocca.
– Ilaria Pirone, Université Paris 8.

Call for papers

We invite you to contribute to this new reflection by proposing a communication based on the various questions mentioned above.

These papers will feed into the workshops and will focus on work resulting from recent research and / or theoretical elaboration. Their 15-minute oral presentations will be followed by discussion time.

Communication proposals will be composed of:

  • a title ;
  • a text in French summarizing oral communication (2500 characters maximum, spaces included);
  • 4 bibliographic references at most (APA standards);
  • 5 key words.

A cover page must indicate: name, position and institutional affiliation, e-mail address and full postal address of the author (s).
The reading committee will pay attention to the suitability of the proposals for the themes of the conference. The questioning, the theoretical perspective, the modalities of constitution of the corpus and its analysis will have to be specified.

Communication proposals will be sent by email to the address: no later than January 17, 2022.
Responses to authors no later than February 14, 2022.

All additional information will be posted from May 9, 2022 on the conference website:
Registration for the conference will be open from March 1 to April 15, 2022 for the preferential rates and from April 15 to May 22, 2022 for the full rate.