Symbolic Evil and the Schooling System

  • Cathryn van KesselEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Educational Futures book series (PSEF)


According to Jean Baudrillard, evil cannot be reduced to anything specific; rather, it is omnipresent. He calls this force Symbolic Evil in order to differentiate it from the common conception of moral evil. Symbolic Evil fuels metamorphosis and thus can be seen positively and negatively in great revolutionaries who tap into evil as the energy of challenge, defiance, creativity, and renewal. This chapter examines this concept in the context of Canadian and U.S. systems of schooling at the classroom, school, district, and national levels, noting the power of Symbolic Evil to help us redefine educational concerns like student “success.”


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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