Locke, Education, and "Disciplinary Liberalism"

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This paper contends that Locke's educational writings are more robust in their commitment to autonomy than recent assessments of Locke as a theorist of disciplinary liberalism suggest. While Locke's account of parental power is conflicted, it is mostly compatible with a liberal, child-responsive approach to education. Insofar as Locke develops a pedagogy sensitive to the pupil's temperament and his rights as a child, he articulates a nuanced understanding of autonomy, shown to be a product of the individual's participation in a community of rational beings. Complicating both received understandings of Lockean liberalism as atomistic and newer claims about the dark forces of socialization it unleashes, this paper gleans from Lockean education the potential of a socially embedded subject, who looks both within and without himself to cultivate a posture of considerable critical independence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-238
Number of pages24
JournalReview of Politics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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