Anarchism as a Framework for Rethinking Educational Authority

Activity: Talk or presentationConference PresentationsResearch

Andy Brogan - Speaker

    When considering anarchist contributions to educational theory and practice, one of the most difficult issues is the presence and use of authority in classroom spaces. These debates focus on how anarchist educators might navigate the tension of a commitment to dismantling assumed authorities while working in environments in which their authority as an educator is constantly reinforced at various levels, be that in the expectations of the students they work with, the institution they work in, or wider society. In higher education, this tension is thrust to the fore through the increasing move towards student-centred teaching and learning.

    On the surface, student-centred teaching and learning aligns with anarchist principles of decentring the assumed authority of educators, and yet the move itself is dependent on the educator continuing to exercise their authority at the level of module design and assignment practices. Today, I explore a possible response for anarchist educators working in the context of student-centred education by introducing postanarchist understandings of power and authority.

    I start with the broader context of student-centred education which is increasingly present in European higher education. Then an introduction to anarchist theory and practice, particularly that of postanarchism. From there I introduce some of the questions about anarchist educator authority, and how postanarchism can help us. I finish with a specific example from my own practice.


    ERUA Summit 2023: Why Universities? Reimagining Higher Education and Research


    Roskilde, Denmark

    Event: Conference