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The Stranger Within

On the Idea of an Educated Public

2008 - 242 pages

Jean Barr (Glasgow University, UK)

ISBN Paperback: 9789087905293 ($ 54.00)
ISBN Hardcover: 9789087905309 ($ 99.00)
ISBN E-Book: 9789087905316

Subject: Educational Theory

Number 22 of the series: Educational Futures: Rethinking Theory and Practice

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The Stranger Within


Increasing numbers of people now receive a higher education. Yet we still do not have that ‘educated public’ about which the philosopher, Alasdair MacIntyre, wrote two decades ago. The stranger within: On the idea of an educated public reflects on this situation, regarding the future shape of the university as a kind of public sphere in exile and a site of social and cultural interpenetration. At its centre is a revaluation of the Scottish tradition of ‘democratic intellectualism’, highlighted by George Davie in his book The democratic intellect (1961). Davie charts the gradual extinction in the Scottish universities of a type of higher education which encouraged breadth of study, public engagement and, through the compulsory study of philosophy, a concern with theory and ideas. The stranger within: On the idea of an educated public seeks to reframe this Scottish tradition and its associated ideal of an educated public in light of recent debates concerning cultural difference, the nation, imperialism and globalisation. It investigates how the radical social purpose inherent in the democratic intellect tradition might be re-vitalised to become a feature of higher education and of a more broadly based popular education worldwide. The book is underpinned by philosophical, social and cultural studies and it draws specifically on radical adult education practices related to social movements and to liberating knowledge ‘from below’. It should be a valuable resource for academics from different disciples who wish to communicate across disciplines about key issues of the day; to managers in higher education who wish to counteract the fragmentation of disciplines; and to adult, community and lifelong education workers, and members of the wider public who seek strategies to counter current educational and ‘lifelong learning’ orthodoxies.
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The Stranger Within