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School, Society, & StateA New Education to Govern Modern America, 1890 – 1940$
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Tracy L. Steffes

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226772097

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226772127.001.0001

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Conclusion: School, Society, and State

Conclusion: School, Society, and State

(p.195) Conclusion: School, Society, and State
School, Society, & State
University of Chicago Press

In a series of 1899 lectures entitled “School and Society,” the philosopher John Dewey explained the distinctive pedagogy of his Laboratory School at the University of Chicago and located it within a broader set of educational reforms. Dewey turned to the state—state government and other mechanisms of public power at all levels of the federal system—for the authority, coordination, and coercion necessary to enact school reforms and make education an effective tool of socialization. This great popular turn to schooling was not a centralized or federal social policy, but a national one. By putting the state back into the center of analysis of “school and society,” new insights about education and American governance have been achieved. Social scientists, educational theorists, and other commentators viewed school reform as a more fundamental solution to overarching problems of the period, particularly the problem of democracy. Education was at the center of early twentieth-century efforts to reconcile democracy with industrial capitalism, social interdependence, and the changing scale of economic and social life.

Keywords:   society, John Dewey, school reform, state government, democracy, capitalism, socialization, social policy, education

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