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  • Призрак педократии в театре марионеток: о школьном самоуправлении и границах детской агентности в первые годы советской власти

Article

Призрак педократии в театре марионеток: о школьном самоуправлении и границах детской агентности в первые годы советской власти

In Soviet Russia, the 1920s are known as a period of an unprecedented growth of the autonomy of children in various aspects of social life. One example is the decision of the Narkompros to introduce student self-government in the Unifi ed Labor School in 1918. When raised to a national scale, the initial radical idea rapidly degraded over the following decade into a much more moderate pedagogical position that was implemented in a set of unimpressive everyday practices, predominantly meetings and duty rosters. By analyzing published and archival sources that contain evidence and opinions presented by pedagogues, teachers and students, this article traces the evolution of the idea and practices of student self-government in early Soviet Russia. The analysis of arguments in favour of expanding or limiting the agency of children in the context of self-government shows that teachers perceived the introduction of the self-government as an attack on their authority; a broad consensus existed among teachers on the necessity to control children’s agency, primarily in terms of their decision-making. A contradiction between the declared  independence of children and the requisite teacher’s control was resolved by an appeal to pedagogical mastery that made it possible to render invisible the teacher’s manipulative behaviors.