Judith Suissa is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. Her research and teaching are mostly in the area of political philosophy, with a focus on liberal theory, radical theories of education, utopianism and the role of the state. Her current work is in developing philosophical perspectives on the parent-child relationship.
Anarchism and Education: A Philosophical Perspective
By Judith Suissa
Published: August 2010
Page Count: 224
Dimensions: 9 by 6
Subjects: Philosophy, Education
While there have been historical accounts of the anarchist school movement, there has been no systematic work on the philosophical underpinnings of anarchist educational ideas--until now.
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.
This original work will interest philosophers of education and educationalist thinkers as well as those with a general interest in anarchism.
"This is an excellent book that deals with important issues through the lens of anarchist theories and practices of education... The book tackles a number of issues that are relevant to anybody who is trying to come to terms with the philosophy of education."
--Higher Education Review
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Reviews, Interviews, Articles
- Anarchism and Education: Anarchist Studies
- Imagining the Future: What Anarchism Brings to Education: Journal of Philosophy of Education
- Anarchism and Education in CHOICE
Mutualism is an important feature of social anarchist thought, and supports the
notion that ‘society should be organized not on the basis of a hierarchical,
centralist, top-down structure such as the state, but on the basis of reciprocal volun-
tary agreements between individuals’ (p.11). Cooperation and the ideal of mutual
community building lies at the heart of many anarchist projects, especially when we
think about the role(s) that anarchists envision education to assume. According to
Suissa, it can be the role of education to ‘systematically promote and emphasize
cooperation, solidarity, and mutual aid’, which will ‘undermine the values under-
lying the capitalist state’ (p.32).
Judith Suissa’s provocative book, Anarchism and Education: A Philosophical Perspective invites us to use our imaginations to think very critically about what kind of society we would like to have, what education would look like in this society and what kind of educational activities might help to facilitate the realisation of this ideal society (p. 5). She argues that the anarchist perspective does not take any existing social or political framework for granted and focuses instead on envisioning what an ideal social order could be like. While such an approach has often been dismissed as utopian, Suissa takes the view that before we begin to philosophise about education we ought to ‘question the very political framework within which we are operating’ (p. 3).
Suissa (Institute of Education, Univ. of London) provides a sweeping historical and philosophical account of the origins and evolution of anarchist thought and its various, yet often little-known, educational theories and practices. She lucidly defines and analyzes important questions about human nature, social and political values, the basic core beliefs in anarchist philosophies, and their educational ideas. Suissa is exceedingly conversant with key theorists such as Mikhail Bakunin, Peter Kropotkin, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Noam Chomsky, Paul Goodman, Daniel Guerin, and Colin Ward, and she is especially adept at pointing out distinctions between anarchism and libertarianism. In addition, she offers helpful examples of actual anarchist educational institutions (e.g., The Escuela Moderna in Barcelona, The Ferrer School in New York, and the Walden Center and School in Berkeley, California). Faculty in educational philosophy and history will find the volume particularly appealing. It will also be of interest to other researchers and graduate students in those fields.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and researchers
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