Karl Marx

The Revolutionary as Educator

  • Robin Small

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Education book series (BRIEFSEDUCAT)

Also part of the SpringerBriefs on Key Thinkers in Education book sub series (BRIEFSKEY)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vi
  2. Robin Small
    Pages 1-13
  3. Robin Small
    Pages 15-31
  4. Robin Small
    Pages 33-49
  5. Robin Small
    Pages 51-68
  6. Robin Small
    Pages 69-85

About this book


This book is an introduction to Karl Marx (1818–1883) as a radical educational thinker. Marx’s own schooling and education are examined and we see how his interest in educational issues was informed by his own experience. Educational themes in Marx’s thinking are identified: the role of education within capitalist society, the contribution of education to human development and the character of education in a future society. These are placed in a historical setting by the author and related to public debates over educational policy.

Throughout his career, Marx identified education as key to the prospects of the working class. The story of this engagement adds a new dimension to the picture of his work as a philosopher, political economist and socialist revolutionary. The aspects of education that concerned Marx matched prominent features of his theoretical and political activity, and educational themes provided him with a critical application for many of his most important ideas.

The author explores Marx’s work on the British factory school system, his use of evidence from  the reports of school inspectors, and the contemporary movement that led to the establishment of modern systems of public schooling. The final chapter relates Marx’s thinking to questions about the place of education in today’s society, showing how relevant it is for the twenty-first century.

These discussions contain new scholarship, draw on original sources and are written in a clear and readable style. Students in education courses at universities and colleges, educational researchers and teachers will find this examination of Karl Marx’s ideas concerning education both engaging and enlightening.


Karl Marx alienation and education capitalism and education historical materialism polytechnical education polytechnical training public education social class socialism and education

Authors and affiliations

  • Robin Small
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

Bibliographic information