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Education and Childhood


by Joseph Dunne — 2008

This chapter grapples with “the obligation that the existence of children entails for every human society” (Hannah Arendt, “The Crisis in Education,” in Between Past and Future [New York: Penguin Books, 1968], 185.) Joseph Dunne begins by considering the dominant views of Western societies about the early years of childhood, the ideas which have shaped primary education practices. Those ideas, he claims, have been shaped by (1) the modern idea of “progress,” with its ultimate goal of “maturity,” and (2) postmodern social conditions which sometimes, for example, “enlist children as consumers,” transforming innocence into knowingness and cynicism.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 107. No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 110 Number 13, 2008, p. 258-273
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18476, Date Accessed: 12/14/2017 12:10:31 PM

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About the Author
  • Joseph Dunne
    Dublin City University
    E-mail Author
    JOSEPH DUNNE enjoys teaching courses with a philosophical and historical orientation in the Education and Humanities programs at St. Patrick’s College, Dublin City University, where he coordinates foundation studies in Education and is Head of Human Development. Author of Back to the Rough Ground: Practical Judgment and the Lure of Technique (1997), he has also co-edited Questioning Ireland: Debates in Political Philosophy and Public Policy (2000); Childhood and Its Discontents: The First Seamus Heaney Lectures (2002); and Education and Practice: Upholding the Integrity of Teaching and Learning (2004). Among his study interests are engaged agency, childhood, and human flourishing. A collection of his essays, Persons in Practice, is due from University of Notre Dame Press next year.
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