Self-reflectiveness, education and cross-cultural inquiry in Ancient Greece
This chapter starts by exploring the Ancient Greek social imaginary and the significations and institutions that it gave rise, from, roughly, the 8th to the 4th centuries BCE. It then examines the institution of education, and traces the Greek comparative gaze through illustrations from the function of democracy, the literary works of the time and the first cross-cultural studies. The rise of reflective self-examination and self-questioning in the Greek polis gave rise to a genuine interest in the institutions of the cultural 'others'. Indeed, for centuries, Homer's poems were at the heart of the ethical socialisation of children and adults in Ancient Greece, and, thus, they matter in the study of Greek education. In short, the Ancient Greek society regarded education as a matter of the political organisation of the community, that it takes place within and across institutions and that it is not limited to formal learning, that is, it is lifelong and life-wide.