Children, redemption and remembrance in Walter Benjamin

Jessop, Sharon (2013) Children, redemption and remembrance in Walter Benjamin. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 47 (4). 642–657.

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Abstract

Walter Benjamin wrote extensively on children and childhood, though this aspect of his work has hitherto received scant attention despite continuing and growing interest in his thought. This article makes explicit the connection between his acute observations of childhood and his distinctive messianic philosophy. The twin aspects of redemption in Benjamin's writings: remembrance and now-time, as illustrated in Wim Wender's Wings of Desire, are explored in relation to the ‘task of childhood’. Benjamin asserts the emancipatory potential held within the development of historical consciousness, and leads us to question how our understanding of childhood can foster this potential