Book ID: CBB123030476

Liberal States, Authoritarian Families: Childhood and Education in Early Modern Thought (2021)


Koganzon, Rita (Author)

Oxford University Press

Publication Date: 2021
Physical Details: 224
Language: English

Children have posed a longstanding dilemma for liberalism. The authority of adults over children has always been difficult to square with liberalism's foundationally anti-authoritarian premises. But since liberal regimes rely heavily on education, finding a way to square adult authority with children's natural liberty is essential. The logic behind anti-authority childrearing and educational advice is that of congruence; to form good citizens of a liberal democracy, families and schools should resemble miniature, protected democracies so that children can practice liberty and equalityin a low-risk environment. This kind of congruence between family and state has very old philosophical roots, surfacing first in ancient Greek and Christian thought and re-emerging in its modern form in the seventeenth century. In Liberal States, Authoritarian Families, Rita Koganzon rejects this impulse, demonstrating that it rests on misunderstanding and neglect of the arguments of early liberals--specifically John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau--about what kind of upbringing and education liberal regimes require. Koganzon shows that not only did early liberals emphatically deny the possibility of congruence between pedagogical and political authority, but they counterintuitively demanded that parents and teachers exercise extensive personal authority over children, while denying the legitimacy of suchauthority over adults in politics. While contemporary theorists argue that the family should be democratized to reflect the egalitarian ideals of the liberal state, this book argues that the desire for "congruence" between familial and state authority was originally illiberal in origin, advanced bytheorists of absolute sovereignty like Bodin and Hobbes. Early liberals opposed modelling the family on the state, even on a democratic, egalitarian state, because they viewed the "authoritarian" family as a necessary educational buttress for children against the new fashionable forms of socialtyranny that liberal, commercial states would develop. Unlike the old authorities, these forces might leave our bodies and properties alone, but they would subtly and forcefully shape our understandings, subjecting us to a new tyranny of public opinion. Koganzon finds that the educational writingsof early liberals reveal an important corrective insight for modern liberalism: authority is not the enemy of liberty, but a necessary prerequisite for it.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Book Steward, M. A.; (2001)
English Philosophy in the Age of Locke (/isis/citation/CBB000102186/) unapi

Chapter Charissa Varma; (2017)
Children (/isis/citation/CBB558712695/) unapi

Article Bonda, Niall; (2011)
Rational Natural Law and German Sociology: Hobbes, Locke and Tönnies (/isis/citation/CBB001211011/) unapi

Article Elena Gil Clemente; Ana Millán Gasca; (2021)
Geometry as ‘Forceps of Intelligence’: Lines, Figures, and the Plane in Édouard Séguin’s Educational Thought (/isis/citation/CBB319975682/) unapi

Article Silvana Vetö; (2017)
Higiene mental infantil y psicoanálisis en la Clínica de Conducta, Santiago de Chile, 1936-1938 (/isis/citation/CBB951555823/) unapi

Chapter Gert Schubring; (2014)
On Historiography of Teaching and Learning Mathematics (/isis/citation/CBB213855058/) unapi

Article Leonel Toledo Marín; Samuel Herrera-Balboa; Carmen Silva; (2018)
La agenda naturalista de las pasiones en la filosofía de la modernidad temprana (/isis/citation/CBB301730414/) unapi

Chapter Ann Blair; (2016)
Early Modern Attitudes toward the Delegation of Copying and Note-Taking (/isis/citation/CBB651758857/) unapi

Chapter Alberto Cevolini; (2016)
Storing Expansions: Openness and Closure in Secondary Memories (/isis/citation/CBB246313956/) unapi

Article Bonner, Kieran; (2014)
Principles, Dialectic and the Common World of Friendship: Socrates and Crito in Conversation (/isis/citation/CBB001420212/) unapi

Article Greg Conti; (2016)
James Fitzjames Stephen, John Stuart Mill, and the Victorian Theory of Toleration (/isis/citation/CBB278861049/) unapi

Article Struan Jacobs; Phil Mullins; (2016)
Friedrich Hayek and Michael Polanyi in Correspondence (/isis/citation/CBB875438608/) unapi

Article Becker, Anna; (2014)
Jean Bodin on Oeconomics and Politics (/isis/citation/CBB001201205/) unapi

Chapter Sorenson, Leonard R.; (2009)
Rousseau's Botanical-Political Problem: On the Nature of Nature and Political Philosophy (/isis/citation/CBB001201163/) unapi

Chapter Thompson, Helen; (2012)
The “Fair Savage”: Empiricism and Essence in Sarah Fielding's The History of Ophelia (/isis/citation/CBB001200745/) unapi

Book Dilley, Stephen; (2013)
Darwinian Evolution and Classical Liberalism: Theories in Tension (/isis/citation/CBB001420122/) unapi

Article Norris, Andrew; (2000)
Locke Reading the Law of Nature: Lockeian Hermeneutics and Political Judgment (/isis/citation/CBB000952599/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Alford, C. Fred
Steward, M. A.
Haakonssen, Knud
Milton, J. R.
Nuovo, Victor
Stewart, M. A.
History of European Ideas
Asclepio: Archivo Iberoamericano de Historia de la Medicina
1650--1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
History of the Human Sciences
Science in Context
Yale University Press
Lexington Books
University of Minnesota Press
Philosophy and politics
Teaching; pedagogy
Locke, John
Hobbes, Thomas
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques
Gassendi, Pierre
Darwin, Charles Robert
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
Early modern
17th century
18th century
21st century

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment