General Education Studies is devoted to both analyzing and describing the processes of school and extracurricular education as well as the conceptual and theoretical reflection of their empowerment, socialization and transformation conditions. Theories of education and theories of educational institutions undergoing change form the key elements and tools for critically analyzing (i) education practices, (ii) relevant specialist discourse and (iii) politically relevant debates in the public domain. Critical analysis means rigorously questioning the quality and validity of either arguments for recommendations (normative discourse) or the empirical evidence for claims (scientific discourse).
The thematic focus of General Education Studies at the University of Zurich includes (1) democratic and political education, (2) matters concerning educational ethics (3) issues relating to the theory of education, and (4) analyses of pedagogic and non-pedagogic communication (especially negotiation and agreement processes). The Chair of General Education Studies has a strong emphasis toward development pedagogy from both a theoretical and empirical perspective. However, the human resource perspective is extended to include the organizational and political and institutional aspect.
In contrast to a purely educational (self-) understanding, the Chair aims also to address pedagogically normative issues that are of particular interest in the public domain and in an institutional context.