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Rural space as a natural space: topoi on the educational qualities of rural space in the debate on rural school reform in Austria, 1920–1960

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Rok publikování 2020
Druh Článek v odborném periodiku
Časopis / Zdroj Paedagogica Historica. International Journal of the History of Education
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Pedagogická fakulta

Klíčová slova Nature; rural schools; Austria; twentieth century; teachers' journals; pedagogic debate
Popis This article examines the ambiguous perception of rural space as a natural space in the debates on rural school reform in Austria from the 1920s up to the 1960s. Throughout the period investigated, the quality of rural space always was an important topic in these debates. In the pedagogic discourse, rural space was perceived as more natural or closer to nature, compared with urban space. This did not only concern the outer nature (landscape, plants, animals) but also the nature of human relationships. This naturality of rural space was coupled to specific pedagogic qualities: on the one hand it was imagined that rural space would provide ideal conditions for growing up away from the spoiling influences of urban civilisation. On the other hand, growing up in rural space was also believed to be linked to specific harmful influences like poor hygienic standards, or the opportunity to observe sexuality among animals or adults. School was ascribed a specific role within this discursive setting, namely to facilitate a process of selection between the desirable and the undesirable elements of the "more natural" rural space.
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