Response to John Tillson’s Review of What is a Public Education
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Rather than responding point by point to John Tillson’s detailed and helpful review of What is A Public Education and Why we Need IT (WIPE) it will be more useful to use his critical comments to clarify the point of the book and to place it in the broader context of some of my recent work.
My aim in writing WIPE was to clarify the modification of the word education by the word public by arguing against two alternative views. The first is the neo liberal idea that the public simply describes a collection of private interests. The second is the assumption by some cultural theorists that the public is a hegemonic instrument to dominate subordinate cultures. Tillson’s review suggests to me that this aim was not sufficiently stated, and the response now allows me to do so.
WIPE argues for a normative conception of culture where culture is neither reducible to the sum of private interests as the neo liberal contends nor is it just an arbitrary weapon that is used to subdue vulnerable...