Variations of Social Pedagogy – Explorations of the Transnational Settlement Movement


  • Stefan Koengeter Hildesheim University
  • Wolfgang Schroeer Hildesheim University



Social Pedagogy, Transnational History, Settlement Movement, 1880-1930, Germany, USA


Both the German and the international discourses on social pedagogy are shaped by a diachronic perspective on its history, which takes nationally differing developments as its starting point as a matter of course, and thus sees socio-pedagogical thinking as having its roots in particular nation states. In our article, however, we wish to take a synchronic, transnational perspective, and to show, by means of the transnational development of the settlement movement, that a socio-pedagogical constellation has developed transnationally. After considering examples of the transnational development of the settlement movement in the USA, Germany and Canada, we will reconstruct variants of socio-pedagogical thinking using key publications from the settlement movements. Rather than focusing on historical attempts at definition undertaken by those regarded as the classic proponents of social pedagogy, this essay is concerned with identifying a socio-pedagogical constellation within which various definitions are present synchronically, and can always be read from various intersections of national, disciplinary, theoretical etc. positionings. The socio-pedagogical constellation, as we derive it from the transnational settlement movement, concentrates on the relationship between a diagnosis of social conditions, the pedagogical organization of social relations, and the expansion of normatively defined agency. This trilateral socio-pedagogical constellation is presented at the end of the essay and positioned in relation to other socio-pedagogical attempts at definition.


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Author Biographies

Stefan Koengeter, Hildesheim University

Stefan Koengeter is senior Lecturer at the Institute for Social Pedagogy and Organization Studies, Dr. phil., Educational Scientist (Dipl.), Sociologist (MA). He was post-Doctoral fellow of the Research Training Group on “Transnational Social Support” founded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) (2008-2010) and received a postdoctoral research grant of the Canadian Government on the transnational production of knowledge in Social Work (2010-2011). Currently, he is co-coordinator of the research project “Higher Education Without Family Support”, jointly run by the Hebrew U, Bar-Ilan U and Hildesheim U, editor of a special issue on care leavers in “Diskurs Kindheits- und Jugendforschung” (2012), author of several peer-reviewed articles and books on child and youth welfare.


Wolfgang Schroeer, Hildesheim University

Wolfgang Schroeer is Professor for Social Pedagogy at the University of Hildesheim. His writings and research activities range from contributions on child and youth welfare, interculturality and migration, to writings about citizenship, civil society and social policy. Together with Prof. Dr. Cornelia Schweppe, University Mainz, he is training a large number of early-stage and advanced researchers, e.g. in the Research Training Group on “Transnational Social Support” founded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).




How to Cite

Koengeter, S., & Schroeer, W. (2013). Variations of Social Pedagogy – Explorations of the Transnational Settlement Movement. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 21, 42.