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Asking fundamental and often uncomfortable questions about the nature and purposes of formal education, this book explores the three main ways of looking at the relationship between formal education, individuals and society: * that education improves society * that education reproduces society exactly as it is * that education makes society worse and harms individuals. Whilst educational policy documents and much academic writing and research stresses the first function and occasionally make reference to the second, the third is largely played down or ignored. In this unique and thought-provoking book, Clive Harber argues that while schooling can play a positive role, violence towards children originating in the schools system itself is common, systematic and widespread internationally and that schools play a significant role in encouraging violence in wider society. Topics covered include physical punishment, learning to hate others, sexual abuse, stress and anxiety, and the militarization of school. The book both provides detailed evidence of such forms of violence and sets out an analysis of schooling that explains why they occur.
In contrast, the final chapter explores existing alternative forms of education which are aimed at the development of democracy and peace. This book should be read by anyone involved in education - from students and academics to policy-makers and practitioners around the world.
Clive Harber is Head of the School of Education at the University of Birmingham. He has had a distinguished career in education and written very many papers, chapters and books in the field.