Guest Editor: Letterio Todaro (University of Catania. Italy)
Deadline for the submission of originals: 10/02/2017
The 1960s and ‘70s were a time of great social upheaval, and saw changes that would profoundly affect the course of the History of Education. At this time very idea of education changed significantly, with far-reaching consequences across the developed Western world. The younger generations were determined to be heard, and became the driving force behind this revolution, protesting against the status quo, on campus and in the streets, and vehemently rejecting all forms of authoritarian control over personal liberty. This critical period of cultural revolution was marked by growing tensions, and ever-louder calls for emancipation, and freedom of thought and action.
The education systems in force were unmasked as effective machines for churning out like-minded, obedient clones, and the hypocrisy of the formal places of education – homes, schools and universities – was loudly denounced. New, more libertarian forms of self-management and organisation of communities and educational institutions were proposed, and new social practices fuelled by the values of autonomy, independence, creativity, and imagination, were conceived and touted as a means of contrasting the obsessive uniformity demanded by the social conventions of the age. The critical debate against the accepted forms of education in the 1960s and ’70s had objective ramifications, laying the ground for new historical horizons. The new ideas became the foundations for a new pedagogical culture, which overturned conformism in favour of libertarianism within the education system. After this revolution, education was conceived, constructed and developed to promote the emancipation of tender young minds, part of a process of ‘liberation’ that now entirely overlapped the process of ‘coming of age’.
At this time the issues of participation, democracy, consideration for marginalised social groups, safeguarding individual rights, concern for equal rights and how to guarantee them, and the interests of counter- and pop cultures became ever-more firmly entrenched in the culture of education. This call for papers for the monographic edition Dismantling Authoritarianism: Changes in Education across the Transition from the 1960s to 1970s has the aim of collecting a variety of articles focussing on this upheaval in Education. The idea is to construct an overview of how pedagogical ‘thought’ and ‘action’ changed across different national contexts during this period. In the interests of historical analysis, we welcome contributions on themes such as the profound changes in family-based and institutional schooling, the influence of the shift towards collective and democratic participation, the tensions that arose as the institutional need to organise school curricula was challenged by questions regarding the relevance of educational interests, and the dialectic that developed between the individual and social dimensions in the definition of the aims of education.