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The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0804719698
ISBN-10: 0804719691
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“An extremely provocative, original, and engaging book, it raises questions of great relevance and urgency about the process of cultural selection and canonization.”–Denis Hollier, Yale University

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (July 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804719691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804719698
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Anonymous VINE VOICE on August 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm constantly amazed that more people haven't read this book, or even heard of it; it should be considered among the new classics of Continental political thought.

Rancière's text does several things at once: most simply, it tells the story of the eighteenth-century revolutionary pedagogue Joseph Jacotot, who developed a method of "panecastic" education which he considered the universal route to mental emancipation. But at the same time Rancière resurrects Jacotot's doctrine. Through a marvelous, sustained sleight-of-hand Rancière plays with its tone and narrative voice, this whole book works as a twentieth-century political manifesto at the same time as a work of history. It is radically egalitarian -- in fact, after reading the book I am not sure that anyone other than Jacotot and Rancière has fully understood the meaning of real, radical egalitarianism. And it is a real book on teaching, all the same, as part of its goal is to evangelize "panecastic" teaching and summarize this general method for teaching.

Not to take anything away from Rancière's other important work, which also deserves more exposure, but this book is incredible, maybe his best, and should be read by a much wider audience.
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I want to add my voice to the other two reviews. I also want to register my amazement that this book remains in relative obscurity.

Ranciere's Ignorant Schoolmaster is a serious philosophical work on the question of education and pedagogy that explores the connection between education and emancipatory politics. As a serious work of philosophy, it is rigorous and a quite demanding read. However, it advances an elegant thesis: all intelligences are equal. Thus, the intellectual emancipation of the students occurs when the holder of knowledge, the teacher, claims ignorance.

This book is made more important due to the lack of real books on the philosophy of education. The last serious book was Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, written in the late sixties--a book with which Ranciere's has much affinity. It is strange that education has been drained of philosophy. Especially since Plato saw it as the key to maintain order in the Republic. Perhaps, philosophical thought on education represents a real danger to the powers that be, so much so that they systematically separated it from philosophy.

On a personal note. I teach Ranciere's book at the University where I am at. You could not believe the amount of controversey it stirs every time. Students, young and old, refuse to accept Ranciere's thesis that all intelligences are equal. They hold fast to the notion that some minds are superior. On a brighter note, one student admitted to me that he decided not to become a teacher because of this book.
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This books gets you thinking hard about perspectives in education. Makes you question everything you believe about education.
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An historical examination of a French educationist after the revolution, this book provides an enlightening introduction to Ranciere's conceptions of equality and the aesthetics of mutual relationships and communication.
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