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(R)evolutionary Rights and Hidden Histories: A New Reading of Janusz Korczak

Vucic, Basia; (2022) (R)evolutionary Rights and Hidden Histories: A New Reading of Janusz Korczak. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Janusz Korczak, Polish-Jewish doctor and pedagogue, is recognised as the father of children’s rights. His innovative institutions acknowledged cultural history synthesised with demands for socio-political transformation promoting democracy and diversity. The absence of Korczak in the history of education is linked to an over- reliance on translations and lack of context. The thesis departs from the typical definitions of non-Western and colonial/colonised by providing insight into how Poland imagined itself as neither Western, nor Russian. Employing a revisionist lens, the study retrieves Korczak’s narrative of his oppressed society and the impacts of cosmopolitanism. The historical methodology relies primarily upon archival research methods, with a focus on newly independent Poland in 1918. An extensive international investigation identified the archive in Warsaw as the oldest and as holding the largest collection of Korczak material. Combining different kinds of evidence, documentary, visual and physical artefacts, situates selected texts within the complex context in which Korczak worked. By identifying his connection with Warsaw revolutionaries and their philosophy of patriotic, spiritual anarchism, the thesis produces an alternative politicized understanding of his life and work. Examining such thinkers who contested the State challenges assumptions and dominant ideas, especially about children, education, and racism. Thus, the conceptual framework for analysis uses anarchist principles of mutual aid and social justice for an epistemological shift. The concept of (r)evolutionary rights adds a new politicised reading of Korczak, as a matrix of Imperial power and knowledge overlaid every sphere of his life. He conceptualised (r)evolutionary rights in formulating how children's lives intertwined with the collective struggle for freedom, especially during conflict and crisis. By revealing hidden histories, this study illuminates a bold new reading of Korczak and delivers a 'usable past' for political theorists and social practioners alike.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: (R)evolutionary Rights and Hidden Histories: A New Reading of Janusz Korczak
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10148962
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