Date of Award

2012

First Advisor

Asma Abbas

Second Advisor

Nancy Yanoshak

Third Advisor

Chris Coggins

Abstract

Unschooling is a child-centered pedagogy which attempts to allow the inner essence of individuals to be actualized through the removal of compulsory education. This pedagogy manifests as homeschooling, and has constructed an ideology which, by naturalizing a certain construction of the home and of childhood, has a strong rhetorical force, allowing the movement to create a social and legal space in the home to practice its pedagogy. However, by retaining a consumerist model of learning and demanding that other institutions be as "natural" as the home, Unschooling's ideology negates its emancipatory potential, both by excluding and abandoning social groups unable to access the middleclass home required, and by limiting its pedagogy to this home even for those who can access it. Drawing on other critics of education, I hope find ways for the movement to avoid becoming another example of the privatization of life for the privileged in the U.S. and gesture towards a greater engagement with the world through the building of new institutions for learning.

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