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Anarchism and Education: A Philosophical Perspective

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Anarchism and Education offers a philosophical account of the neglected tradition of anarchist thought on education. Although few anarchist thinkers wrote systematically on education, this analysis is based largely on a reconstruction of the educational thought of anarchist thinkers gleaned from their various ethical, philosophical and popular writings. Primarily drawing o Anarchism and Education offers a philosophical account of the neglected tradition of anarchist thought on education. Although few anarchist thinkers wrote systematically on education, this analysis is based largely on a reconstruction of the educational thought of anarchist thinkers gleaned from their various ethical, philosophical and popular writings. Primarily drawing on the work of the nineteenth century anarchist theorists such as Bakunin, Kropotkin and Proudhon, the book also covers twentieth century anarchist thinkers such as Noam Chomsky, Paul Goodman, Daniel Guerin and Colin Ward.


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Anarchism and Education offers a philosophical account of the neglected tradition of anarchist thought on education. Although few anarchist thinkers wrote systematically on education, this analysis is based largely on a reconstruction of the educational thought of anarchist thinkers gleaned from their various ethical, philosophical and popular writings. Primarily drawing o Anarchism and Education offers a philosophical account of the neglected tradition of anarchist thought on education. Although few anarchist thinkers wrote systematically on education, this analysis is based largely on a reconstruction of the educational thought of anarchist thinkers gleaned from their various ethical, philosophical and popular writings. Primarily drawing on the work of the nineteenth century anarchist theorists such as Bakunin, Kropotkin and Proudhon, the book also covers twentieth century anarchist thinkers such as Noam Chomsky, Paul Goodman, Daniel Guerin and Colin Ward.

30 review for Anarchism and Education: A Philosophical Perspective

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    It turns out that the woman who founded the preschool that I went to, that my step mom and my dad taught at, attended the Ferrer Modern School at Stelton. My step mom recently loaned me a book that Sue Riley, who started the preschool that I went to, wrote called: How to Generate Values in Young Children. Since reading the forward for that book, I've gotten really interested in the Modern School movement. I found this book really interesting. It was the most I had read about anarchist philosophy It turns out that the woman who founded the preschool that I went to, that my step mom and my dad taught at, attended the Ferrer Modern School at Stelton. My step mom recently loaned me a book that Sue Riley, who started the preschool that I went to, wrote called: How to Generate Values in Young Children. Since reading the forward for that book, I've gotten really interested in the Modern School movement. I found this book really interesting. It was the most I had read about anarchist philosophy in a very long time. It clarified a lot of my understanding of how anarchist thinking might apply to education and pushed me to think about philosophy of education more generally. It turns out that, at least according to the author I am a little bit more optimistic in my view of human nature, than what Suissa refers to as the 'social anarchists' and have an educational philosophy that is closer to libertarian than anarchist. I'm a little embarrassed about the later, but also relieved... I always worried I was a little bit of an authoritarian around education. The challenge that Suissa took on was evident as she attempted to draw out a coherent educational philosophy from dispirit anarchist thinkers who had never set out a philosophy of education per say. I am not convinced that she has a anarchist philosophy of education nailed down, but that doesn't bother me. By the middle of the book I certainly agreed that considering an anarchist philosophy of education was valuable simply to gain a better sense of the possibilities of education philosophy more generally. While none of this was very useful to me as a child care provider in an immediate practical way, it was actually very useful for me in thinking more long term about the trade I am in and how it might possible fit into a vision of a different society. I think my biggest disappointment was that the author did not provide more back ground on Marxist education philosophy and explain an anarchist philosophy of education by contrast. I feel she did a great job explaining the relationship between liberal (i.e. mainstream) education philosophy and a possible anarchist philosophy of education. Most clear to me at the close of the book was the problem in current mainstream education philosophy is not being able to hope... hope for a better world for students, and instead replacing hope or vision with equal opportunity. I understand that a clear way that anarchist and Marxist education philosophy would differ is that anarchist philosophy asks one to act on this hope or vision in a prefigurative way, where a Marxist philosophy would dismiss this as a possibility, but I missed having more information and analysis about Marxist education. Finally, one of the things I found most interesting, as I had never really read about education philosophy generally, was thinking about how far away the current 'education reform movement' (ala waiting for superman, the Gates Foundation, and Sec. Duncan)is from liberal (mainstream) education philosophy. Is there a philosophy of education that is behind this movement, or is it a philosophy of management or business?

  2. 4 out of 5

    AJ

    This book was boring. The introduction, chapter 6 and conclusion were the only chapters I read without my eyes glossing over. Jeff read it before me, and didn't like it mostly because (other than the boring factor) he'd already read a lot of primary works from anarchists and didn't like how this book is mostly composed of quotes from those works without a lot of synthesis. He didn't get anything new from it. For me, a complete beginner to anarchist theory, I felt totally overwhelmed with names I This book was boring. The introduction, chapter 6 and conclusion were the only chapters I read without my eyes glossing over. Jeff read it before me, and didn't like it mostly because (other than the boring factor) he'd already read a lot of primary works from anarchists and didn't like how this book is mostly composed of quotes from those works without a lot of synthesis. He didn't get anything new from it. For me, a complete beginner to anarchist theory, I felt totally overwhelmed with names I didn't know given no context before being massively quoted. So this book isn't for the beginner, nor is it for the more well read. I don't know who that leaves. This book also claims in the title to be about education but it's more about anarchist theory in general. I found that to be a bit interesting because I have a lot of questions about anarchist theory, but ultimately left me a bit disappointed that out of 7 or 8 chapters, only 1 was really dedicated to education.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Groundbreaking work! This little book ties together loose strands of anarchist political philosophy and contemporary progressive educational theory into a cohesive, concise examination of the history, thought, and practice of this radical social project. Equal parts an examination and exculpation of social anarchist theory in general and an investigation into what "anarchist education" looks like, I've never read anything like it. Highly recommended, even - and perhaps especially - for those s Groundbreaking work! This little book ties together loose strands of anarchist political philosophy and contemporary progressive educational theory into a cohesive, concise examination of the history, thought, and practice of this radical social project. Equal parts an examination and exculpation of social anarchist theory in general and an investigation into what "anarchist education" looks like, I've never read anything like it. Highly recommended, even - and perhaps especially - for those skeptical of anarchism as a viable political philosophy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    'Izzat Radzi

    It was a new topic, so no long review I guess. This read just causes a few books to move up in the pile and increases to-read list exponentially.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Eduardo Goye

    The introduction, first chapters and the end were interesting. Sadly, the book is overly repetitive and most of the times it looks like a compendium of quotes from other authors. Having read most of those authors directly, this book gave little to no new food for thought. The biggest issue is that it promises something that never delivers: a philosophical perspective on anarchism and education. It seems to me that the author understands "philosophy" as "thinking" or "overall mindset/perspective o The introduction, first chapters and the end were interesting. Sadly, the book is overly repetitive and most of the times it looks like a compendium of quotes from other authors. Having read most of those authors directly, this book gave little to no new food for thought. The biggest issue is that it promises something that never delivers: a philosophical perspective on anarchism and education. It seems to me that the author understands "philosophy" as "thinking" or "overall mindset/perspective of ideas". So: read the first two, the final chapter, and the conclusion. All the rest of the book is basically repeating the same ideas.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas

    Some good, big ideas in this little book. When defining a liberal education, Suissa quotes Paul Hirst in saying "the liberal educational ideal is essentially non-utilitarian and non-vocational...[It] emphasizes the idea of the mind and mental development" in a "conception of human nature that regards human potential as consisting primarily in the development of the mind" (p. 22). I like this idea, because it's basically what separates us from other animals, our ability to develop our mind. What Some good, big ideas in this little book. When defining a liberal education, Suissa quotes Paul Hirst in saying "the liberal educational ideal is essentially non-utilitarian and non-vocational...[It] emphasizes the idea of the mind and mental development" in a "conception of human nature that regards human potential as consisting primarily in the development of the mind" (p. 22). I like this idea, because it's basically what separates us from other animals, our ability to develop our mind. What it means to reach one's full potential then is to never stop learning and continually enhance one's education. Potential is in no way related to the ability to reach a certain level of productivity in the economy. Chapter 2 was very interesting as well. Since many of the criticisms of anarchism "hinge on the concept of human nature," Suissa explores the anarchist position on the topic. I thought she made some really good points. Humans are basically social, helpful creatures. And though there will always be exceptions, those exceptions will never be the majority. Loved the bit about the anarchist take on authority, and the theory of decentralization: "There could, in theory, be an infinite, elaborate network of such circles, the crucial point being that none of them would have absolute authority..." (p. 58) Another good idea here was using education to foster the development of certain beliefs and attitudes, such as fraternity. And I loved the proposal for an education that combines work with study, manual training with intellectual exercise. "An education that was divorced from the world of work, that is, an education that was entirely bookish or grammar-schoolish in conception was valueless from the point of view of ordinary working-class children. Of course, an education that went too far in the other direction, which brought up children merely to be fodder for factories, was equally unacceptable. What was required was an education which would equip a child for the work-place but would also give him a degree of independence in the labour market." (quoting Smith 1983) (p. 105)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Combimagnetron

    Very readable and a decent overview of what some of some anarchist viewpoints and some real-world examples of anarchist education. I started to read, though, expecting this book to come to some conclusion on what an anarchist philosophy of education could look like. But in the end I feel like it primarily makes an argument for the value of the anarchist perspective besides a liberal and marxist perspective. Which is interesting, but not really what the book seemed to suggest as far as I'm concern Very readable and a decent overview of what some of some anarchist viewpoints and some real-world examples of anarchist education. I started to read, though, expecting this book to come to some conclusion on what an anarchist philosophy of education could look like. But in the end I feel like it primarily makes an argument for the value of the anarchist perspective besides a liberal and marxist perspective. Which is interesting, but not really what the book seemed to suggest as far as I'm concerned.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel Sims-Fewer

    Mostly a worthwhile read, though suffering from the ingrained liberalism of academia (every time you think you've found an anarchist academic they out themselves by voicing their liberal fetish for "non-violence") Definitely intended as an invitation to liberal academics to consider the more moderate end of the anarchist spectrum of philosophy. Mostly a worthwhile read, though suffering from the ingrained liberalism of academia (every time you think you've found an anarchist academic they out themselves by voicing their liberal fetish for "non-violence") Definitely intended as an invitation to liberal academics to consider the more moderate end of the anarchist spectrum of philosophy.

  9. 4 out of 5

    KEITH

    Pretty good! Not very practical or immediately useful for teachers, but good for moulding a certain mindset and philosophy when it comes to moving forward with education from a social-anarchist perspective. Author did do an excellent job compiling the array anarchist ideas into something coherent and easy to understand. A significant achievement, but not what you're looking for if you are a teacher looking for something practical to bring to your classroom. Pretty good! Not very practical or immediately useful for teachers, but good for moulding a certain mindset and philosophy when it comes to moving forward with education from a social-anarchist perspective. Author did do an excellent job compiling the array anarchist ideas into something coherent and easy to understand. A significant achievement, but not what you're looking for if you are a teacher looking for something practical to bring to your classroom.

  10. 4 out of 5

    ػᶈᶏϾӗ

    About the best you can expect, from someone who seems so clearly a sympathetic, academic liberal educator.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Brilliantly insightful overview.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marie-Joëlle

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brian McNiff

  14. 4 out of 5

    Corey

  15. 4 out of 5

    MR K R J MOLLOY

  16. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chris Poupart

  18. 5 out of 5

    Trucy Nguyen

  19. 4 out of 5

    PM Press

  20. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amy Lloyd

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Taylor

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  24. 4 out of 5

    Randy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jmmj

  26. 5 out of 5

    Matti

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Moosechow

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ziggy

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mariel

  30. 4 out of 5

    n

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