Christian Education, Binary Constructions and Deleuzian Thought

  • Author / Creator
    Clarke, Bryan
  • This dissertation is written as a series of interconnected papers around a theme– an accepted procedure by the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research – because such a process seemed to better further the goals I have to speak to a variety of Christian audiences and because it best fitted with the impact I found in Deleuzian thinking. In some ways, my work is an in medias res narrative – a humble beginning to a lifetime of scholarly study. Although I have committed to reading and understanding philosopher Gilles Deleuze, I know such work would take a lifetime and I know much more understanding will follow when this work has been completed. The introduction outlines my personal journey from my own thesis work in the fields of religion and science (as I understood them) and to assess and explore why students, teachers, and researchers get caught in binaries and dichotomous thought. Chapter one explains my journey from a beginning background in hermeneutic phenomenology to the current moment where Deleuze is used as a conversation partner with my Christian faith – a faith that, similar to my scholarly study, remains an ongoing development. Chapter two seeks to question educational research that avoids living in the flux, and remains caught in the problem of comparison. I address the constructed binary of sacred and secular and insider and outsider and, informed by Deleuzian thought, I use a strategy of ‘breaking binaries’ or complexification to encourage Christian researchers like myself to work towards openness to others outside of our own communities, to become more self-aware of our tendencies to split a complex and dynamic world into pre-judged categories, and to live open to researcher becoming that allows for exploring our own differences and becoming better bridge builders to those with other beliefs. Chapter three addresses a binary that “lurks” in much philosophical Christian religious discourse – transcendence and immanence. Using a number of major thinkers whose work employed to thought can, I believe, inform these constructed categories, from Martin Luther to Gilles Deleuze, and following from chapter one, I discuss ways to think differently, to break this binary as an immanence that needs transcendence, and vice versa, a way of saying each is indistinguishable from the other. Although this binary might seem an odd formulation to some thinkers, it is a formulation that has a certain hold within the Christian community – a hold I wish to complexify. In light of this and Deleuzian thought I then discuss educational implications. Chapter four engages Deleuzian thought applied to the practical dichotomy of good and evil (another constructed binary) searching for a creative way to discuss culture and religious issues related to marginalizing others. I close with implications for approaching researching and teaching that desires to be open to a world breaking binary constructions of good and evil. Finally, I include two published papers in the appendices that apply a Deleuzian concept of rhizome, first to researchers becoming rhizomic in their approach to their fields of discourse, and second to rhizomatic thought in social studies practice. They are included as chapters five and six to show some implications of Deleuzian thought for education. Rhizomic Interludes have been included to connect the chapters, as a way to show my research process.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Secondary Education
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • jagodzinski, jan (Secondary Education)
    • Wallin, Jason (Secondary Education)
    • Parsons, Jim (Secondary Education)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Lamoureux, Denis (St. Joseph's College - Science and Religion)
    • Brouwer, Wytze (Secondary Education and Physics)
    • Walker, Keith (University of Saskatchewan - Educational Administration)