Education is commonly understood as an interaction between subjects; an interaction between the educator, who already is a subject, and the child, who has to become a subject by means of the pedagogical activities of the educator. Postmodernism has seriously challenged the common (modern) understanding of human subjectivity. The question therefore is what his challenge entails for our understanding of the process of education.
In this paper this question is taken up in the context of a distinction between two conceptions of education: education as manipulation and education as communication. It is argued that the manipulative conception is closely related to the modern understanding of human subjectivity, as is the critique leveled against the communicative conception. In order to find out whether the postmodern "deconstruction" of the modern understanding of human subjectivity opens up new possibilities for a communicative understanding of education, Foucault's analysis of the emergence and subversion of the modern conception of man is presented and discussed.
Although Foucault's work points into the direction of the recognition of the primacy of the intersubjective - and in this sense supports a communicative understanding of education - his deconstruction also makes clear that intersubjectivity cannot be understood as a new deep truth about man. This means that pedagogy has to do without humanism. The paper concludes with some reflections on such a pedagogy without humanism.