A Food for Thought Paper

By Lene Rachel Andersen

The Bildung Rose is an educational model for connecting our inner worlds to the society in which we grow up. Understanding the relationship between self and society is crucial because as society becomes more complex, we too must change in order to survive and thrive. According to the model, societies evolve, grow and become more complex across seven domains: 1) production; 2) technology; 3) knowledge/science; 4) ethics; 5) narrative; 6) aesthetics, and 7) power. Given the complexity of modern society, there is an enormous challenge to foster the development of coherent identities that are flexible, adaptive, stable, and comfortable about learning and growing throughout life. Bildung refers to how education, enculturation, life experiences, and emotional and moral/ethical development cultivate responsible, reflective, and autonomous citizens (selves). It also refers to the result of such processes. The Bildung Rose allows us to map the relationship between self and society in a way that orients us toward the well-being and flourishing of both.

The Bildung Rose – 21 pages version, incl. sources

The Bildung Rose – 3 pages version

Where else to find the Bildung Rose

The Bildung Rose is put to good use as an analytical tool in Lene Rachel Andersen’s book Bildung: Keep Growing: http://nordicbildung.org/books/bildung/

The Bildung Rose has its own unique website: http://bildungrose.com/

The Rose Garden Economy

Lene Rachel Andersen presenting the Bildung Rose and suggesting a Rose Garden Economy at the AdaptEcon II conference at the University of Iceland, August 2019.

Introducing Bildung and the Bildung Rose

Lene Rachel Andersen presenting the Bildung Rose at a Humanistic Management Professionals Lunch and Learn; full story here: http://humanisticmanagement.international/using-the-bildung-rose-as-a-strategic-diagnostic-tool/


Prof.Em. Peter Victor made a series of comments to an early version of the paper, some of which were addressed and some were deliberately not addressed, since the main purpose with the paper is to introduce the Bildung Rose; we have more papers in the pipeline based on the Bildung Rose.

Three comments / questions that Victor brought up and that were not addressed are:

  1. What are the competing general theories of society and how does the Bilding Rose compare with them? What are its advantages and disadvantages?
  2. Can the Bildung Rose be applied to or help make sense of theories of social transformation such as those by Karl Marx, Karl Polanyi, Gunderson and Holling (Panarchy), or any others of your choice? Is it a theory of social change or a ‘prism’ for viewing a society at a point in time. Again, this speaks to the purpose of the Bildung Rose.
  3. I find Schiller’s proposition that there are only 3 kinds of people unpersuasive. If you were to allow that each person was some combination of these 3 ideal types then that would permit a much wider range of people and, to my mind, be a lot more reasonable.

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

This post was last updated on September 27, 2020.