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.

Cite this article as: Menéndez Álvarez‑Hevia, D. (2018). Aproximación crítica a la Inteligencia Emocional como discurso dominante en el ámbito educativo | A critical approach to emotional intelligence as a dominant discourse in the field of education. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 76 (269), 7‑23. doi: 10.22550/REP76-1-2018-01

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Author Biography

David Menéndez Alvarez-Hevia is Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at the Metropolitan University of Manchester and since 2013 member of the Executive Committee of the British Education Studies Association (BESA). He studied his PhD with a fellowship from the Educational and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and has participated in different research projects related to the commercialization of higher education and emotional education.

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Palabras clave | Keywords

discourse, educators’emotionalinvolvement, emotionaleducation, emotionalintelligence, emotionalliteracysubjectivation, emotionality