Modernism and Education: Revised Perspectives on Meaning, Value and Practice

“Most Americans don't really like children... even their own! Adults don't trust youngsters, and school is an institutional expression of that fact.” 
                                                                           John Holt 
                                                       (interview by Robert Gilman, summer 1984)

Any ideal or material production depends on the forces that drive individuals to reproduce. Thus, production is only possible through the reproduction of bodies and minds. Contemporary obligatory education plays a vital role in the way we conceive our roles in the world and whether we approach re/production (socio/cultural and of species) actively or passively. Education is responsible for the inculcation of a specific life-stance or type of habitus and praxis – the subtlest guides of our behaviour. In other words, it is the most important instrument of institutionalization.

"The habitus - embodied history, internalized as a second nature and so forgotten as history - is the active presence of the whole past of which it is the product. As such, it is immediate present. This autonomy is that of the past, enacted and acting, which functioning as accumulated, produces history on the basis of history and so ensures the permanence in change that makes the individual agent a world within the world. The habitus is a spontaneity without consciousness or will..." 
                                                                     Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice

I consider this paper to be my most important work so far. Here, I examine the type of habitus that contemporary obligatory education inculcates, i.e. Education’s basic principle. Education is one of the most globalized products of Western Europe. After all, it is from there that the colonizers of the American Wild West emerged, conquering the territories of aboriginal cultures. I use Russian pedagogical thinkers and Western theorists among whom John Holt and John T. Gatto - American educational critics and proponents of home-schooling - to debate and reveal its drawbacks and possibilities.

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