philosophy with children: an invitation to self-management


  • ana corina salas


Philosophy, autonomy, freedom, self-management


For Michel Foucault, school is headed by disciplinary power. Through hierarchical surveillance, normalizing punishments and examinations, the power controlling technology of the nineteenth century is intended to create docile bodies in order to extract the most out of them. The school makes subjects out of human beings, that is, people subjected to the control of others and the mechanisms through which they build their own self-awareness. The philosophy with children movement, considering philosophy as a self-transforming thinking experience, aims at opening spaces within the school so that individuals can think about the self-defining mechanisms to which they are bound, and what they want to be. Philosophy is presented as an invitation to teachers and students to build their independence and enhance their freedom. In other words, philosophy is an invitation to individuals, to provide themselves with their own rules, rejecting any kind of imposition within the school place. We base the understanding of philosophy with children on the self-management idea found in Cornelius Castoriadis, a Greek-French philosopher, who advocates for a self-managed society; a society where individuals decide for themselves and take in their own hands the problems that plague them and their communities, looking for solutions collectively. A self-managed community is not a disorganized group. This social group is organized by the individuals who are part of it; putting aside any prior arrangement set outside the community. We would like to think about what philosophy means as an invitation to self-management, since it is a proposal made not only to children but also to us adults. Under this request, we must wonder and ask: What does such proposal imply? Do I want to enhance my autonomy? Do I want to get involved in the issues affecting me, and participate in their solution? Am I willing to live in a self-managed community? We would like to open the debate as to accept or decline this invitation.

Author Biography

ana corina salas

Licenciada en Filosofía en la Universidad Central de Venezuela. Actualmente está asociada y trabaja en Cooperativa Masaya, Espacios Alternativos de Inspiración.



How to Cite

salas, ana corina. (2013). philosophy with children: an invitation to self-management. Childhood & Philosophy, 9(17), 91–105. Retrieved from




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