Universalism is an epistemological position that asserts the ability to produce absolute knowledge about unrestricted domains of reality or at least all tokens of a certain type with an unlimited validity claim. Thus, universalism is opposed to relativism, particularism, and skepticism. This entry proposes a differentiated perspective on universalism, arguing that there are still open questions about the epistemological, pedagogical, and political implications of universalist concepts and approaches often too easily brushed aside by generic power-critical arguments.

From the stance of postmodern, poststructuralist, feminist, and deconstructivist pedagogies, universalism can be seen as a remnant of ontological, Eurocentric, and phallocentric thinking. For epistemological, political, and normative reasons, assertions with unlimited validity claims about humans or children seem untenable. It is hardly reasonable to produce knowledge in a ...

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