Benign Violence by Ansgar Allen
Education in and beyond the Age of Reason

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews



Education is a violent act, yet this violence is concealed by its good intent. Education presents itself as a distinctly improving, enabling practice. Even its most radical critics assume that education is, at core, an incontestable social good.

Setting education in its political context, this book, now in paperback, offers a history of good intentions, ranging from the birth of modern schooling and modern examination, to the rise (and fall) of meritocracy. In challenging all that is well-intentioned in education, it reveals how our educational commitments are always underwritten by violence. Our highest ideals have the lowest origins.

Seeking to unsettle a settled conscience, Benign Violence: Education in and beyond the Age of Reason is designed to disturb the reader. Education constitutes us as subjects; we owe our existence to its violent inscriptions. Those who refuse or rebel against our educational present must begin by objecting to the subjects we have become.


About Ansgar Allen

See more books from this Author
Ansgar Allen is Lecturer in Education at the University of Sheffield, UK.
Published July 22, 2014 by Palgrave Macmillan. 289 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Benign Violence

Huffington Post

We face a bewildering array of academies, independent schools, surviving comprehensives, faith schools, and free schools, which Labour policies as well as Tory ones helped entrench.

Apr 18 2017 | Read Full Review of Benign Violence: Education in...

London School of Economics

While Allen’s argument may not entirely sway readers away from the overarchingly positive value typically attributed to education, it nonetheless asks serious questions about the role that the education system and examinations have played in shaping us and our world, writes Mithilesh Kumar Jha.

May 16 2016 | Read Full Review of Benign Violence: Education in...