Social Pedagogy and Transgression

In this special issue our aim is to link bell hooks’ thoughts on transgression to social pedagogy. Social pedagogy can be understood as a science, education and practice that aims to support the empowerment and participation possibilities for children/young people/adults in current and future communities, with an ongoing dialogue and reflection on how the individual and their communities wish their future to be. This has an implicit call for transgressing existing understandings and perceptions of society ‘as it is’, which in turn calls for transgression in social pedagogical practice and thinking.


bell hooks was inspired by Paolo Freire and Thich Nhat Hanh. Freire is known for his work on developing awareness through linking words to the world. He sees life-long learning with a focus on praxis as action and reflection that should not be dissociated from the other. bell hooks links this to Thich Nhat Hanh’s thoughts on interbeing in the sense that we are truly ourselves when we understand all the relationships that link us with others, the material

and all living beings. bell hooks’ work was undertaken in loving kindness, emphasising that all critique should be enlightened by love.


Perhaps the most dominant way we understand the word transgression is as ‘the action of tansgressing or passing beyond the bounds of legality or right; a violation of law, duty, or command; disobedience, trespass, sin’ (OED). By this definition we are encouraged or conditioned to not transgress, as breaking rules and laws is bad, but rather it is about a social contract. However, transgressions can also be about how societies develop boundaries, norms and rules that are more meaningful and relevant for the modern age, and so are vital for democracy. 


Publication date: From June 2024 (ongoing). 


Guest Editors

Edited by Lotte Harbo (VIA University College Aarhus, Denmark) 

Robyn Kemp (Social Pedagogy Professional Association, UK)

Research article


‘Dancing the fine line’: developing critical agency with transgressive social pedagogy?

Morten Kromann Nielsen and Gry Marie Tybjerg

2024-02-21 Volume 13 • Issue 1 • 2024

Also a part of:

Special series: Social Pedagogy and Transgression

Practice paper


Bonding across difference in beloved community: subverting the politics of domination in school

Rebecca Hibbin

2024-04-29 Volume 13 • Issue 1 • 2024

Also a part of:

Special series: Social Pedagogy and Transgression

Diversity reflection: an approach towards provoking diverse thinking within social work and social pedagogy training

Robert Koglek

2024-06-25 Volume 13 • Issue 1 • 2024

Also a part of:

Special series: Social Pedagogy and Transgression