Initiating Children in Language and World: Learning from Dogtooth

Stefan Ramaekers, Naomi Hodgson

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle (specialist)


We present here an account of how the depiction of childrearing in the film Dogtooth is allegorical of how we protect children from, and initiate children in to, the world. The film undeniably invites a political reading, or otherwise explanatory account, due to its many disarming, weird, and straightforwardly shocking scenes. Such as reading is not our aim. Drawing on Stanley Cavell's account of initiation as an expression of what we do when we "teach" children about the world, we focus on the very particular vision of language presented in the film. Our account aims to underscore the need for educational-philosophical analyses of upbringing as a way to respond to the recasting of those relationships and practices as "parenting." The film asserts, albeit in a paradoxical way, something about raising children that goes unnoticed in the predominant discourse of "parenting."
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Specialist publicationPhilosophy of Education Yearbook 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


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