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A critical approach to Emotional Intelligence as a dominant discourse in the field of education

Menendez Alvarez Hevia, D (2018) A critical approach to Emotional Intelligence as a dominant discourse in the field of education. Revista Espanola de Pedagogia, LXXVI (269). ISSN 0034-9461

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Abstract

This article offers a critical analysis of emotional intelligence (EI) as a dominant discourse that establishes ways of understanding, managing, and learning about emotions in the field of education. The first section gives an overview of the recent interest in the emotional along with how the popularity of ideas associated with emotional intelligence derives from its ability to associate itself with other influential discourses that emerge from the brain sciences (neurology, cognitive psychology etc.). As part of this discussion, some of EI’s main qualities are questioned, for example, its neutrality, its potential to go beyond the dualist approaches that dominate traditional conceptions, and its proposal for a paradigm shift. The second part of the article examines the presence and impact of the discourse of emotional intelligence in the field of education in the form of mechanisms for measuring emotional intelligence and programmes of emotional intelligence or emotional literacy. The importance of educators’ emotional involvement is discussed, as is the problem of the subjectivating power of this discourse. It concludes with arguments that invite us to reflect and explore alternative ways of understanding and framing the emotional and emotional education.

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