By Ansgar Allen
Education is a violent act, but this violence is hid via its stable motive. schooling offers itself as a fairly bettering, permitting perform. Even its so much radical critics think that schooling is, at center, an incontestable social good.
Setting schooling in its political context, this booklet, now in paperback, bargains a heritage of fine intentions, starting from the beginning of recent education and glossy exam, to the increase (and fall) of meritocracy. In difficult all that's well-intentioned in schooling, it unearths how our instructional commitments are regularly underwritten through violence. Our maximum beliefs have the bottom origins.
Seeking to unsettle a settled sense of right and wrong, Benign Violence: schooling in and past the Age of cause is designed to disturb the reader. schooling constitutes us as matters; we owe our lifestyles to its violent inscriptions. those that refuse or insurgent opposed to our instructional current needs to commence by way of objecting to the topics we have now become.
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Additional resources for Benign Violence: Education in and beyond the Age of Reason
Abstract lectures are little attended to, and still less understood, by children. ’132 The reprimand passes through the body to the soul under construction. Lancaster presents himself as a tireless innovator in this domain. Though he reputedly had ‘a perfect horror’ of the rod,133 this came more from dislike of its tendency to arbitrary violence than its cruelty as such. 134 Instruments of punishment include ‘a wooden log’ placed round the neck, which ‘serves as a pillory’. The neck ‘is not pinched or closely confined – it is chiefly burthensome by the manner in which it incumbers the neck, when the delinquent turns to the right or the left ...
A history such as this should break down the current tendency in education to adjudicate between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ examining practices, between those examining practices that are seen as oppressive, impersonal and excessively mechanistic and those that are celebrated for their flexibility and attention to the needs of the child. Both traditions of assessment (mechanistic and humanistic) have as their object the construction of selves amenable to government. And so, the rejection of one tradition of examination in favour of another may do little to emancipate us from the effects of power.
The superior half of the class tutors the inferior half, and the seats taken along the bench reflect this: the lowest member of the class sits beside the highest, the next lowest beside the next highest, and so on all the way along. Achieving the status of tutor is an honour, but the tutor is responsible for a double fate. 128 * * * 36 Benign Violence Ranking depends upon an archive of past efforts. It begins with the individual scholar, who ‘registers for himself all his daily operations in the last page of his copy, or ciphering book’.