Anarchism, the State and the Role of Education

Posted: 13 Apr 2011

See all articles by Justin Chandler Mueller

Justin Chandler Mueller

Purdue University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: January 1, 2011


Education has played a particularly important role in the history of anarchist thought and practice, perhaps more so than any other political philosophy aimed at social transformation. This is in part because, for anarchists of all stripes, education has never been simply a means to achieve a new social order. It has been, rather, part of the very practice and prefiguration of the anarchist ideal of creating freer and more critical minds, and more open, cooperative and non-oppressive relationships within society. As a result, understanding the peculiar nature of the role of education for anarchism can help us better understand the relationship between anarchist educational theory and its relatives in the broader circles of "libertarian" or "radical" education. It can also help us underscore the tremendous differences between the anarchist conception of education and that of historical and contemporary statist and capitalist pedagogies. Finally, a greater understanding of the role of education within anarchist theory can help us clarify the means, aims and ideas of the wider anarchist movement and tradition. This paper seeks to elaborate on these topics.

Keywords: anarchism, education, pedagogy

Suggested Citation

Mueller, Justin Chandler, Anarchism, the State and the Role of Education (January 1, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Justin Chandler Mueller (Contact Author)

Purdue University - Department of Political Science ( email )

West Lafayette, IN
United States

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