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Absolutism and the Eighteenth-Century Origins of Compulsory Schooling in Prussia and Austria

Absolutism and the Eighteenth-Century Origins of Compulsory Schooling in Prussia and Austria


  • Date Published: November 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521528566

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About the Authors
  • Compulsory schooling is widely held to be a creation of modern industrial society. Yet already in the eighteenth century, Prussian and Austrian rulers attempted to introduce universal education in societies that were overwhelmingly rural and 'premodern'. Focusing on the reigns of Frederick the Great of Prussia (1740–86) and Maria Theresa of Austria (1740–80), this 1988 book examines the origins, aims, and achievements of the compulsory school movements in those states. It draws on a broad range of sources in showing how school reform was part of a broader campaign to strengthen relationships of authority and dependence. Local resistance as well as the contradictory aims of absolutist rule severely limited the success of school reform. But in their effort to promote literate culture on an unprecedented scale, reformers established pedagogical institutions and practices that would decisively shape public education not only in Central Europe, but throughout the West.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2003
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521528566
    • length: 288 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.433kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of tables
    List of abbreviations
    Administrative divisions of the Habsburg and Hohenzolln monarchies, 1780
    Part I. Cultural and Religious Forces:
    1. Popular schooling in early modern Prussia and Austria
    2. The rise of Pietist pedagogy
    3. From image to word: cultural reform and the rise of literate culture in Theresian Austria
    4. The catholic appropriation of Pietist pedagogy: Johann Ignaz Felbiger
    Part II. Social and Economic Forces:
    5. Mastering the masterless: cameralism, rural industry, and popular education
    6. From compulsory labor to compulsory schooling: education and the crisis of seigniorial authority
    Part III. The Limits of Reform:
    7. School reform in Frederickian Prussia
    8. The Theresian school reform of 1774
    Selected bibliography

  • Author

    James van Horn Melton

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