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Recontextualising R.G. Collingwood's ‘General Massacre of Schoolteachers' Family in New Idealist Philosophies of Education

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This paper examines Robin George Collingwood's (1885-1943) decision to place primary responsibility for education in the hands of parents by considering contemporary philosophies of education and the historical context in which The New Leviathan appeared. It shows that while Collingwood's views were out of step with the ‘New' philosophies of education that are conventionally emphasised in histories of education, they are not entirely out of keeping with contemporary New Idealist thought, particularly in Australia. Further, it argues that Collingwood's hope for parent-led education might not simply be a reflection of his own childhood experiences--as is traditionally argued--but also of contemporary issues such as the effects of evacuation on parent-child relationships and institutional education. Considering these factors, new light is cast on Collingwood's description of New Leviathan as a ‘war effort'.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, Department of Modern History, Macquarie University, Sydney NSW 2109, Australia., Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2008


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