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ERIC Number: EJ928610
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 45
ISSN: ISSN-0309-8249
Britishness, Belonging and the Ideology of Conflict: Lessons from the "Polis"
Edyvane, Derek
Journal of Philosophy of Education, v45 n1 p75-93 Feb 2011
A central aspiration of the "Britishness" agenda in UK politics is to promote community through the teaching of British values in schools. The agenda's justification depends in part on the suppositions that harmony arising from agreement on certain values is a necessary condition of social health and that conflict arising from pluralism connotes a form of dysfunction in social life. These perceptions of harmony and conflict are traceable to the ancient Greeks. Plato used the device of the soul-city analogy to provide a form of independent justification for his favoured model of community according to which harmony was essential. However, the soul-city analogy involves an intellectual sleight-of-hand. The idea that conflict connotes a defect in social life, which continues to haunt contemporary debates about community and values education, is the vestige of an ancient aristocratic ideology and we must learn to see it as such. There is no more reason to accept the Platonist portrayal of the place of conflict in social life than there is to accept a diametrically opposed Heraclitean account, which interprets harmony as the central threat to social flourishing. The implications of this ancient dispute for modern education are considerable: there is nothing natural or inevitable about the association of conflict with social dysfunction that partly supports the Britishness agenda; it is a political prejudice. Coming to see it as such will reveal new pathways to belonging and new ways of understanding the role of education in fostering the good society. (Contains 13 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom