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ERIC Number: EJ870748
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-0305-4985
Utopian Totalism versus Utopian Realism: A Reply to Darren Webb
Halpin, David
Oxford Review of Education, v35 n6 p761-764 Dec 2009
Over one half of Darren Webb's article on the concept of utopia in contemporary educational theory (Webb, 2009) reviews critically the "utopian realist" approach the author has advocated in various publications about education over the past nine years. The conception of utopianism to which the author subscribes also stresses the role of patient and articulating progressive incremental social reforms within a framework of values that emphasises the importance of creating "a more equal and more democratic education system and society". Webb objects to the author's piecemeal approach to utopia on the grounds chiefly that it is insufficiently progressive and comprehensive, failing to offer a "prescriptive blueprint-like vision of an integrated holistic social reality", which for him is the hallmark of utopianism. Unlike his preferred concept of utopia, mine, Webb argues, is incapable of genuinely liberating the imagination and creating fulsome visions for education. This article presents the author's response to Webb's critique. The author stresses three points: (1) While it is undoubtedly important to consider the role of utopianism in educational theory, it is not self-evidently useful to do so on the basis that there is for this purpose a single and preferred concept of utopia that educationalists should draw upon; (2) As to Webb's preferred utopian direction, the author is not very confident that it will lead to serious consideration of the kind of overarching reforms in education and society the author infers he has in mind; and (3) Because the author's approach to utopianism is neither totalistic nor prescriptive, Webb is able easily to gainsay the utopian claims the author makes for the various piecemeal voluntary reforms the author highlights.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A