Mussolini and a certain baggage of concrete facts

Posted on 22-10-2012

In this post here I noted that E.D. Hirsch often cites Antonio Gramsci’s work in defence of his ideas. The quotation he (and others) often refer to is this one:

The new concept of schooling is in its romantic phase, in which the replacement of “mechanical” by “natural” methods has become unhealthily exaggerated. Previously pupils at least acquired a certain baggage of concrete facts. Now there will no longer be any baggage to put in order. The most paradoxical aspect of it all is that the new type of school is advocated as being democratic, while in fact it is destined not merely to perpetuate social differences but crystallize them in Chinese complexity.

Intriguingly, Gramsci wrote this in response to Mussolini’s Italian educational reforms. These reforms were based on the idea that traditional education was  ‘narrow, formal and sterile’. Some references here, more in Hirsch, The Schools We Need and Why We Don’t Have Them.