If Schools Didn't Exist

A Study in the Sociology of Schools

By Nils Christie

Edited by Lucas Cone and Joachim Wiewiura

Foreword by Judith Suissa

A classic in the philosophy of education, considering the fundamental purpose and function of schools, translated into English for the first time.

Overview

Author(s)

Summary

A classic in the philosophy of education, considering the fundamental purpose and function of schools, translated into English for the first time.

The open access edition of this book was made possible by generous funding from Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.

This classic 1971 work on the fundamental purpose and function of schools belongs on the same shelf as other landmark works of the era, including Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society, Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and John Holt's How Children Fail. Nils Christie's If School Didn't Exist, translated into English for the first time, departs from these works by not considering schooling (and deschooling) as much as schools and their specific community and social contexts. Christie argues that schools should be proving grounds for how to live together in society rather than assembly lines producing future citizens and employees.

Christie presents three examples of schools in different settings—a French village school that became the bedrock of its community; federal government–run schools for Native Americans that facilitated the experience of inferiority; and a British secondary school that reinforced class stratification. He considers the school's function as a storage space (for an unproductive segment of society), as a means for differentiation (based on merit), and as distributor of knowledge. He introduces the idea of the school-society, a self-governing body of students, teachers, parents, and community; and he offers a vision of a society based on normalizing the needs and values of local communities.

Paperback

$35.00 X | £28.00 ISBN: 9780262538893 248 pp. | 5.375 in x 8 in 1 b&w photo, 4 charts

Editors

Lucas Cone

Lucas Cone is a PhD Fellow at the Danish School of Education at Aarhus University.

Joachim Wiewiura

Joachim Wiewiura is a PhD Fellow in Philosophy at the Center for Information and Bubble Studies at the University of Copenhagen.

Contributors

Judith Suissa.