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ERIC Number: EJ960595
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-1740-2743
Looking for Marx: A Review of "Marx and Education" by Jean Anyon
Banfield, Grant
Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, v9 n2 p5-13 Nov 2011
"Marx and Education" is the second and latest volume in the new "Routledge Key Ideas in Education Series". The series is intended to offer readers concise introductions to specific sub-field developments in the field of educational scholarship. For their "Marx and Education" volume, Greg Dimitriadis and Bob Lingard invited Jean Anyon to illuminate foundational figures and critical topics in the field. At the head of the author's concerns is the fact that Anyon does not implement her footnote strategy. A quick flick-through browse of "Marx and Education" shows that Anyon's use of footnotes is far from extensive. There are only four footnotes in the entire volume. Of these, only two refer to the work in the field of Marxist education. Significantly, nowhere in "Marx and Education" does Anyon engage in conversation with Marx. This is curious given the fact that the volume is supposedly about "Marx" and education. The author is not necessarily suggesting that Anyon needed to deal with what Marx actually said about education. Rather, he is indicating that Anyon needed to at least touch the bedrock Marxist theory and practice i.e. Marx's materialist conception of history. Without reference to Marx's "guiding thread", Anyon cannot judge the explanatory power of "traditional Marxism" or indeed any "new Marxism". She can only call on the historically present empirical world as her guide. This is why, in the final chapter of "Marx and Education", Anyon does not offer a critique of Marxist theory (or practice). Instead, she provides an "extension": an up-date for the out-of-date. However, this is an extension without "deep" explanation. Without means from which to judge the explanatory claims of the trans-historical materialism that "old" Marx offers, Anyon can do no more. "Marx and Education" seems stuck: it calls on Marx but does not know what to call Marx. The author finds "Marx and Education" to be a curious book. The essence of its curiousness rests in the fact that its title does not reflect its content. "Marx and Education" is not about Marx and education. Rather, the object of the volume might be more accurately described as a "particular" account of the development of neo-Marxist analyses of United States schooling since the 1970s. In itself, this is a worthy project with undoubted relevance to researchers and scholars that have an interest in the specific content trajectory of the book. But the author suspects that those with an interest in Marx and education will be left, as he was, disappointed. (Contains 3 footnotes.)
Institute for Education Policy Studies. University of Northampton, School of Education, Boughton Green Road, Northampton, NN2 7AL, UK. Tel: +44-1273-270943; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States