Maxine Greene’s Concept of the Social Imagination

  • Wendy Kohli
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


Maxine Greene (1917–2014) was a philosopher of education who grounded her work in existentialism, pragmatism, critical theory, and aesthetic education. A prolific writer, public intellectual, and teacher, Greene offered (and continues to offer) contemporary educators and policy makers a valuable critique of education and schooling in the USA. In particular, her concept of the social imagination is a potent antidote to the negative forces of scientism, technicism, and instrumental rationality that have dominated educational thought and practice for several decades, especially through the over-reliance on authoritarian accountability systems. This chapter locates the social imagination in Greene’s existential commitment to provide openings, to create more possibilities, to move us to a more empowered stance in the world. For Greene, it is through encounters with a range of art forms that we are provoked to ‘think of things as if they could be otherwise.’


Aesthetic education Social imagination Critical pedagogy Existentialism Multicultural democracy 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy Kohli
    • 1
  1. 1.Educational Studies and Teacher PreparationFairfield UniversityFairfieldUSA

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