Title: Is competition negative for learning? Imitation, learning, competition and innovation: a Girardian perspective

Authors: Per Bjørnar Grande

Addresses: Faculty for Education, Culture and Sports, Department of Pedagogy, Religion and Social Studies, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, Norway

Abstract: This article contains a discussion on how imitation may be considered an essential premise for learning and innovation. Imitation has been considered, until lately, a wilful representation of the world. However, today imitation or mimesis is viewed by many first and foremost as a desire, evoked by the other. When desire vis-à-vis the other becomes too intense, it inverts the learning process and becomes a hindrance to learning. Learning can, however, be optimal when there is a high degree of competition. Competition and cooperation seem to exist simultaneously - despite a strong scepticism towards competition among teachers. To find the right balance between imitating a model and the intensity of the desire entailed in imitation seems to be decisive for the degree of innovation.

Keywords: Girard; imitation; mimesis; desire; competition; rivalry; violence; innovation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIIE.2020.111089

International Journal of Innovation in Education, 2020 Vol.6 No.3/4, pp.202 - 216

Received: 09 Jan 2020
Accepted: 25 Apr 2020

Published online: 15 Oct 2020 *

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