Literacka antropologia szkoły przełomu XIX i XX w. Rekonesans

Marta Rusek
2014 Ruch Literacki  
This article attempts to point out the issues which make up the literary anthropology of the school of the late 19th and early 20th century. This period deserves special attention for a number of reasons, among them a rapid growth of the educational debate both in Europe and the United States and fundamental changes in the functioning of the educational system, eg. the extension of universal primary education, and the opening up of elementary and secondary schools for girls. All of those
more » ... ments were not only associated with the idea of modernity but constituted the practical realization of the progressive content of that idea. Our understanding of the anthropology of the school is based the premise that human beings acquire their knowledge (ie. learn and are taught) within an organized educational framework. The issues that this article deals with are directly connected with that institutional framework, ie. the school as an anthropological site, the technology of power, symbolic violence, individual subjectivity, the relationship between the individual and the group, individual and collective identity. The discussion focuses on two books, which are characteristic of their time, Stefan Żeromski's popular school-novel The Labors of Sisyphus and Janusz Korczak's utopian novel The School of Life. They both suggest that the institutionalized educational drive of early modernity was aimed at influencing and transforming society through the schooling of individuals. What is striking about Żeromski's presentation of the school with its mechanism of knowledge as power, used by the Russian authorities to inculcate submission in individuals and in the society at large, is the sheer brazenness of the scheme which tends to neutralize its symbolic violence. By contrast, in Korczak's novel we find a totally new educational institution based on the principle of treating children as adults. For Korczak a radical respect for the autonomy of child and its individual development was the first step towards social change and the transformation of interpersonal relations. Our analyses demonstrate that fiction was used to examine the paradoxes inherent in institutionalized education at a time when it became one of the most universal forms of everyday praxis
doi:10.2478/ruch-2014-0004 fatcat:kyur3y654fcbjhuwgvhvpkwnuy