Henri Lefebvre and Education
Space, history, theory
Routledge – 2014 – 212 pages
During his lifetime Henri Lefebvre (1901-1991) was renowned in France as a philosopher, sociologist and activist. Although he published more than 70 books, few were available in English until The Production of Space was translated in 1991. While this work - often associated with geography - has influenced educational theory’s ‘spatial turn,’ educationalists have yet to consider Lefebvre’s work more broadly.
This book engages in an educational reading of the selection of Lefebvre’s work that is available in English translation. After introducing Lefebvre’s life and works, the book experiments with his concepts and methods in a series of five ‘spatial histories’ of educational theories. In addition to The Production of Space, these studies develop themes from Lefebvre’s other translated works: Rhythmanalysis, The Explosion, the three volumes of Critique of Everyday Life and a range of his writings on cities, Marxism, technology and the bureaucratic state. In the course of these inquiries, Lefebvre’s own passionate interest in education is uncovered: his critiques of bureaucratised schooling and universities, the analytic concepts he devised to study educational phenomena, and his educational methods.
Throughout the book Middleton demonstrates how Lefebvre’s conceptual and methodological tools can enhance the understanding of the spatiotemporal location of educational philosophy and theory. Bridging disciplinary divides, it will be key reading for researchers and academics studying the philosophy, sociology and history of education, as well as those working in fields beyond education including geography, history, cultural studies and sociology.
1. Overview: Henri Lefebvre and Education 2. Production of Space: Labouring Families in a New Colony, 1841-45 3. Everyday Life: ‘New Education’ Activists, 1928-48 4. Dwelling: Sylvia Ashton-Warner at Home and School, 1939-59 5. The Rhythmanalyst: Doctoral Students, 1968-1998 6. The Bureaucratic State: Teacher Educators, 1989 – 2013 7. Conclusion: Lefebvre as Educational Theorist
Sue Middleton is Emeritus Professor of Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.