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Problematizing Public Education

May 15, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm BST

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Interintellect Maybe Gray invites you to question whether public education is better characterized as an essential element of civil society or as a tool for the socially acceptable enforcement of state control.

From some philosophical perspectives (consider Foucault, Nietzche, Schopenhauer, Bentham, et al), the historical transition in public education “from external vengeance and towards internal amendment” may represent a shift in political necessity rather than humanitarian sentiment. The rise of mandatory mass schooling reconceptualized childhood, reorganized the structure of familial relationships, and presented education for the first time as a sort of science.

Yet today, the mainstream view is that mandatory mass schooling is both entirely normal and obviously necessary for the success of children, families, and societies. It goes without question that the intended effects of a public education are to prepare individuals to be good citizens by teaching them the explicit subjects presented through each clearly defined curciullum. Children, their parents, and society as a whole, tend to see no alternative to this regime. So, at the individual, familial, and collective levels sacrifices are continuously made in the pursuit of success within this regime, and for the success of the regime itself.

But what if school is not primarily intended to teach the subjects offered through each curriculum? What if, more than science, math, history, and language, the public education regime is designed to teach conformity, dependence, morality, and obedience? What if, more than preparing individuals for successful careers, the public education regime is designed for weilding epistemological control, disciplinary power, and state-mandated surveillance?

In this salon, we will explore questions like…

  • what existed before mass schooling regimes?
  • what factors led to the shift toward the use of mandatory public education regimes across so many cultures and contexts?
  • do universities really live up to their promise of the prospect of successful careers?
  • what are the impacts of mandatory public education on children and their parents?
  • who benefits most from public education being a mandatory social system?
  • are there examples throughout history where mandatory public schooling has been used in explicity coercive and unconscionable ways?

Read before the salon…

Time Zones:

Saturday 15th May

  • 11am in Los Angeles / San Francisco
  • 2pm in New York
  • 7pm in London
  • 8pm in Berlin / Paris

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May 15, 2021
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm BST
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