John Dewey and Antonio Gramsci: thinkers for our times

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Abstract

The lives of John Dewey (1859-1952) and Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) could not be of greater contrast in their personal circumstances; the one led a long, active, healthy and free life, whilst the other struggled in difficult social and political circumstances, suffered from ill-health and spent the last 10 years of his life in prison where he nevertheless succeeded in writing on history and philosophy. What makes a comparison fruitful is that both identified the central role that education plays in building a democratic way of life. Their very different experiences, both personal and political form the basis for more than merely a textual comparison: for we can read Gramsci’s Selections from Prison Notebooks against Democracy and Education and vice-versa. Arguably, a comprehensive account of the role of education in democratic life needs to take account ideas from both texts – not as forming a convenient unity but rather as a tension that informs our reflective practice.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2016
EventDewey's 'Democracy and Education' 100 years on:: Past, Present and Future Relevance - Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge
Duration: 28 Sep 20161 Oct 2016
https://www.educ.cam.ac.uk/events/conferences/dewey2016/

Conference

ConferenceDewey's 'Democracy and Education' 100 years on:
Period28/09/161/10/16
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