chapter  6
20 Pages

Relationships, community and personal discipline

This chapter explores the importance of, and possible connections between, relationships, communication, community and discipline. It does so with reference to the educational philosophies of, fi rst, John Dewey and then John Macmurray. Contrary to Foucault, Dewey and Macmurray both felt that discipline was needed in education if community is to be established and better social orders built. Dewey thought that disciplined communication of interests and purposes in education could help communities be and become more democratic. While perhaps unduly optimistic about the democratic potential of discipline, Dewey’s notion nonetheless stands in stark contrast to more managerial ways of thinking about disciplinary approaches in school. Macmurray in turn emphasised the primacy of fostering disciplined relationships. Unlike Kant, Macmurray held that human emotions are far from unruly passions. They are not states that need to supressed before education can begin. Rather they are the foundations upon which discipline and education must be built. While sympathetic to the concepts of discipline developed by Macmurray and Dewey, neither philosopher valued enough the liberal idea that students might be meaningfully disciplined by traditions of knowledge pursued for their own sake.