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Karl Marx and the Paris Commune of 1871: Tracing Traditions of Critical Pedagogy

, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

IJAVET Volume 5, Number 2, ISSN 1947-8607 Publisher: IGI Global


In 1871, citizens of the war torn arrondissements of Paris, in the face of traumatic political and military turmoil, established a new local form of government. The Paris Commune, as this government became known as in the English world, attracted attention for its alternative political-economic organization. One notable commentator was Karl Marx who, while living in England at the time, commentated on the Commune as a test of the bourgeoning field of critical theory. This paper traces Marx's work on the Commune, specifically in The Civil War in France, to examine how his work on this historical event underpins crucial concepts for critical pedagogy in contemporary adult education. While the trajectory between Marx's writings on the Commune and critical adult education is underrepresented and often unacknowledged, I argue that there is an important connection: The Civil War in France revises Marx's theory of dialectics in such a way that it allows us to understand informal learning as a process for possible critique.


McGray, R. (2014). Karl Marx and the Paris Commune of 1871: Tracing Traditions of Critical Pedagogy. International Journal of Adult Vocational Education and Technology, 5(2), 1-14. IGI Global. Retrieved January 28, 2020 from .