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Schools as Social Spaces: Towards an Arendtian Consideration of Multicultural Education

Updated: Sep 29, 2022

[New article] Abstract. Hannah Arendt has been criticised for the sharp distinction she drew between the social and political realms, and her application of this distinction to schools. In this paper, I demonstrate that this distinction can be interpreted as a heuristic that Arendt developed to address a tension that she had encountered in her attempt to understand childhood. She understood schools to be spaces that could prepare children for citizenship. However, she also recognised that attempts to prepare children for citizenship threatened two characteristics of childhood: their vulnerability and their natality. Arendt's heuristic can be fruitful for addressing dilemmas in citizenship education in ethnoculturally plural contexts.


This article is forthcoming in the Journal of Philosophy of Education. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9752.12577


Update, 29 October 2021: The article is finally out, and open access.


As a preview, here is the first paragraph of the article proper:

Of all of Hannah Arendt's essays, ‘Reflections on Little Rock’ (1959b) is one of the most controversial, and was so from the very beginning. The essay was originally commissioned by the editors of the Jewish magazine Commentary in 1957, who then had second thoughts about printing it. By the time it was finally published in a different magazine (Dissent) in 1959, it had already been indirectly criticised by Sidney Hook (1958) in a separate pamphlet, and it was published alongside two essays also criticising the piece—from Daniel Spitz and Melvin Tumin, respectively. ‘Reflections’ is remarkable, then, in that even before the public had read the first word of Arendt's piece, three critiques of the essay had already been printed.

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