The interface between education and law: Marxist themes for critical analysis

Anthony Green
Vol 14, Number 2, p.117
The marxist tradition has developed through several phases and it is only in the most recent and least orthodox of which it has devoted extensive attention to questions to do with law and with education. In each context the efforts have been controversial and in the process marxism has been extended, severely criticised and enriched. Hardly at all in this process, however, has social analysis, let alone marxism specifically, considered the interrelationships between education and law. This essay is intended to initiate discussion towards opening both of those spaces. It takes a focus within a standpoint. The broader standpoint is marxism and the marxist traditions and so aims to discuss and illuminate aspects of marxism in relation an hitherto under-explored area of social investigation and critique, namely the education/law interface. However, whilst exploring the issues from this standpoint, the embedded focus is educational rather than legal. Within the aspirations of the marxist tradition of socialist development, radical critique and politics, law and education amount most abstractly to the same things. They are sites of struggles for power, social justice and development for the fullest of human potentials in the face of social, economic and cultural conditions of production, distribution and exchange which fundamentally undermine and deflect these. The educational focus is concerned with making socially productive knowledge, itself paralleling marxism strategies as immanent educational critique and development. As such, this essay is concerned more with marxist educational theory than a complementary 'marxist jurisprudence', though the full model would require the development and articulation of both.