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Utopianism and Education

Please explain the concept of utopianism, using education as an example.

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Utopianism is a broad concept with a long history. Derided by some, invoked by others, no easy definitions of it exist either as designs and theories or as resultant practices. Sympathetic scholars of the history and implementation of utopianism, however, provide us with some key attributes of utopianism which are germane to a discussion of education. Poldervaart (2001) says of utopian practices that they "...can be described as those communities of which members try to apply their ideals of living together in an alternative way to daily life " (p.11). Later, commenting on the unique conception and application of those ideals by 19th century utopian-socialists, she writes, "...they differed from previous utopians...by emphasising the differences between individuals: their aim was not to strive for equality but to give room for all people to express their unique qualities " (p.13, original emphasis).

Scholars generally chart a long history of utopianism, both theorized and realized, going back (at least in Western history) to Plato's Republic, playing a role in various sects within Christianity (early and Medieval) and culminating more recently with a series of utopian waves that started in the 19th century with the work of the utopian socialists, which then laid the foundations for the utopianism of the 20th century, most notably some of the revolutionary ideas of the 1960s and 70s (Poldervaart et. al. 2001).

One person who figured prominently in the designs of 19th century utopian-socialists was Charles Fourier, the French social critic whose vision of a more equitable society was fueled by his dismay at the contradictions he saw inherent within a "civilization" that was often far less civilized than purported to be. Engels, quoting Fourier, wrote,

"He (Fourier) proves 'that the civilized stage raises every vice practiced by barbarism in a simple fashion into a form of existence, complex, ambiguous, equivocal, hypocritical' - that civilization moves 'in a vicious ...

Solution Summary

The solution discusses utopianism and the effect it had on education. The solution is detailed and also contains information about some of the important people who contributed to this way of thinking. The text contains 1107 words.