Rudolf Steiner pp 113-124 | Cite as

The Social and Political Aspects of Education

  • Bo Dahlin
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Education book series (BRIEFSEDUCAT)


Steiner considered the free unfoldment of individuality to be the essential task of education. This requires more freedom from state rules and regulations than is the case for schools in most modern societies. Its creative nature makes education part of cultural life; it does not belong to the state or government organisation. Government organisation and cultural life are, or should be, two relatively independent realms of society; the third realm is economy. These three social realms should be based on the three social values we have inherited from the French revolution: equality in the state, freedom in culture and solidarity in economy. This is the basic view of Steiner’s so-called social threefoldness. Steiner saw cultural life in general, and education in particular, as disempowered by the penetration of state and economy. Parallels to this view can be found in present-day social and political philosophy, such as that of Habermas and Cohen & Arato, where the cultural lifeworld and civil society are understood as illegitimately colonised by state and economic power, and in need of greater autonomy in order to liberate human creative forces. However, international agencies like the OECD have further increased the political influence of the state on education, eroding the professional knowledge base of teachers and turning them more into bureaucrats than creative artists.


Social threefoldness Cultural lifeworld Civil society Individualism School organisation 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Karlstad UniversityKarlstadSweden

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