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Steiner Waldorf Education, Social Three-Folding and civil society: Education as cultural power

Author(s): Bo Dahlin

Journal: RoSE : Research on Steiner Education
ISSN 1891-6511

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 49;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Waldorf Education | threefold social structure | civil society | political philosophy

Abstract. Steiner Waldorf education is usually perceived as based on Rudolf Steiner’s comprehensive vision of human nature and development, the knowledge of which is the basic element of Steiner Waldorf teacher education. However, Steiner considered it important for teachers to be aware of the social and political issues of the times and his educational ideas can be seen as part of a social philosophy of Menschenbildung. This paper relates Steiner’s idea of a threefold social structure to various theoretical notions that have appeared recently within social and political philosophy. In particular, Cohen and Arato’s concept of civil society is found to be similar to Steiner’s notion of culture as a third, relatively independent social sphere, balancing the powers of the state and the market. The power of civil society in general and education in particular is based on the creation of meaning and identity. Steiner Waldorf education supports the formation of a cosmopolitan identity based on the universally human. Such an educational impulse is needed today as a counterbalance to the global market forces.
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