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Erica Hagström
Erica Hagström

Erica Hagström

Senior Lecturer
Luleå University of Technology
Education and Languages
Department of Health, Education and Technology
+46 (0)920 491493

I’m a senior lecturer in Education since 2019. I hold a Ph. D. in Education, a Master’s degree with a Major in Theoretical Philosophy, and a Master of Education. I defended my dissertation Between Human and Horse : Becoming-animal in the in-between of the educational relation in September 2018.

I pursued my doctoral education within the graduate school Philosophical Studies of Educational Relations (funded by the Swedish Research Council), under the supervision of professor Eva Alerby and dr. Niclas Ekberg. My research interests concern educational theory, philosophy of education, human-animal studies and arts-based research.

My dissertation Mellan människa och häst: Djur-blivande i den pedagogiska relationens mellanrum (monography, Swedish) [Between Human and Horse : Becoming-animal in the in-between of the educational relation] is available here (incl. summary in English):

Abstract [en]

Pedagogy has been theorised as a process of becoming, throughout history, as well as in contemporary research. In an interplay between literary configuration as a form of arts-based research and analysis based in philosophy of education, this dissertation explores the in-between of the educational relation within a specific human–horse relationship in order to examine, re-symbolise and re-negotiate the very presumptions of what pedagogy can become.

   I am interested in the educational possibilities in the relational processes of becoming when the Other is a horse and, further, how imaginaries, enabled by a questioning of the anthropocentrism of processes of becoming, can contribute to think pedagogy as a relational process of becoming, rooted in becoming-animal.

   Firstly, against the backdrop of a critique of the discourse on animality, I analyse becoming-animal in depth. By working with the concept of figuration, I investigate the processes of becoming between human and other-than-human. As Rosi Braidotti’s (2002) notion of becoming-animal informs this specific, enfleshed relation between human and horse, this lived relation also concretises the notion of becoming-animal.

   Secondly, in the light of a cartography of the power relation, I claim, in line with Patton (2003), that it is nonetheless possible for ethical relations to emerge in and through that relation. By linking the idea of ‘being faced by animals’, as developed in Matthew Calarco’s (2008) work with the idea of ‘being addressed’ as developed in Gert Biesta’s (2012) work, I see the horse’s face appear as an educational and ethical questioning.

   Thirdly, drawing on Luce Irigaray’s (1993) concept of difference, yet in another way, and displacing space for wonder to the relational space between human and horse, I highlight how processes of becoming-animal break through. Further, I explore how re-configurations offer possibilities of shaking the idea, rooted in human subjectivity, out of which the living is classified into the ‘ontological categories’ of ‘Human’ and ‘Animal’.

   In conclusion, I discuss how educational possibilities emerge in relational processes when the Other is a horse in two different yet transversal ways: firstly, through the lived relation to the Other and secondly, through possibilities for other-than-anthropocentric imaginaries.

   The dissertation not only contributes to the field of education, and more specifically within the field of philosophy of education concerning educational relations. It also contributes to the development of the field of horse studies within the fields of humanities and social science.

Key words [en]

philosophy of education, becoming-animal, in-between, educational relations, human-horse relations, Gert Biesta, Luce Irigaray, Rosi Braidotti, Matthew Calarco


Chapter in book

Hästar och pedagogiska relationer (2020)

Hagström. E
Part of: Hästen och den mänskliga hälsan
Conference paper

A halter and a lead rope (2016)

shifting pedagogical imaginaries of becoming within a human–horse relationship
Hagström. E
Paper presented at : Equine Cultures in Transition: Human-horse relationships in theory and practice: changing concepts of interaction and ethics, Stockholm, 27-29 oktober 2016
Article in journal

A halter and a lead rope (2016)

shifting pedagogical imaginaries of becoming within a human–horse relationship
Hagström. E
Gender and Education, Vol. 28, nr. 2, s. 298-313