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Happiness, Hope, and Despair

Rethinking the Role of Education


Peter Roberts

In the Western world it is usually taken as given that we all want happiness, and our educational arrangements tacitly acknowledge this. Happiness, Hope, and Despair argues, however, that education has an important role to play in deepening our understanding of suffering and despair as well as happiness and joy. Education can be uncomfortable, unpredictable, and unsettling; it can lead to greater uncertainty and unhappiness. Drawing on the work of Søren Kierkegaard, Miguel de Unamuno, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Simone Weil, Paulo Freire, and others, Peter Roberts shows why these features of educational life need not be feared; to the contrary, they can be seen as a source of hope and human fulfilment.
After years of negotiating an education system dominated by the language of competition, performance, and economic advancement, students and teachers often long for something different; they seek not just measurable success but also opportunities to ask searching questions of themselves and the world they encounter. Happiness, Hope, and Despair makes an important contribution toward meeting this need. It fosters a rethinking of the nature, purpose, and value of education, and opens up possibilities for further scholarly and professional inquiry.
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Series Index



Reframing the curricular challenge educators face after a decade of school deform, the books published in Peter Lang’s Complicated Conversation Series testify to the ethical demands of our time, our place, our profession. What does it mean for us to teach now, in an era structured by political polarization, economic destabilization, and the prospect of climate catastrophe? Each of the books in the Complicated Conversation Series provides provocative paths, theoretical and practical, to a very different future. In this resounding series of scholarly and pedagogical interventions into the nightmare that is the present, we hear once again the sound of silence breaking, supporting us to rearticulate our pedagogical convictions in this time of terrorism, reframing curriculum as committed to the complicated conversation that is intercultural communication, selfunderstanding, and global justice.

The series editor is

Dr. William F. PinarDepartment of Curriculum Studies2125 Main MallFaculty of EducationUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4CANADA

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