The ‘science of education’ and Owenism: the case of Joseph Rey (1779–1855)

History of European Ideas 47 (2):216-230 (2021)
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ABSTRACT This article examines the impact of Robert Owen’s educational ideas in France. It traces how his ideas attracted the attention of French liberals, particularly Charles de Lasteyrie, Alexandre de Laborde and Joseph-Marie de Gérando, and republicans associated with Marc-Antoine Jullien’s Revue Encyclopédique. The article focuses in particular on the work of one of Owen’s early French followers, the leading radical egalitarian political and social theorist Joseph Rey (1779–1855). The article examines how Owen’s reflections on education served as the foundation for Rey’s own theoretical and practical contributions to educational philosophy and pedagogical reform. Drawing extensively from unpublished archive material, the article describes and analyses Rey’s detailed egalitarian critique of the work of educational theorist Joseph Jacotot, and explores how Rey advanced a far more ambitious philosophy of education that, when translated into practice, eliminated the traditional divide between manual skills and intellectual ability, resulting in a genuinely inclusive and comprehensive educational system.



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