jules henry – anthropologist
I got introduced to Jules Henry today via an unschooling group on facebook. They posted this quote of his:
The function of high school, then, is not so much to communicate knowledge as to oblige children finally to accept the grading system as a measure of their inner excellence. And a function of the self-destructive process in American children is to make them willing to accept not their own, but a variety of other standards, like a grading system, for measuring themselves. It is thus apparent that the way American culture is now integrated it would fall apart if it did not engender feelings of inferiority and worthlessness.
Long version of this sentiment.
Though adolescents may want nothing more than to be able to define themselves, they discover that high school is one of the hardest places to do it.
Intrigued, I looked him up, found this on his wikipedia page:
Henry’s first book, Culture Against Man (1963) questioned the authority of, and rationale behind, cultural institutions, particularly public education.
His second book, Pathways to Madness (1965), focused on interpersonally-induced mental and developmental disorders, raising the question of how disease and disorder arise from behavioral conditioning in families of origin and cultural institutions.
His third (posthumous) book, On Sham, Vulnerability and other forms of Self-Destruction (1973) is a collection of essays, among them his famed eight-page essay on “Sham,” originally prepared for the 1966 Conference on Society and Psychosis at the Hahnemann Medical College (now Drexel University Medical School) in Philadelphia. In it, Henry describes how children are socialized to accept and utilize dishonesty as an interpersonal tool despite being taught to “always tell the truth.”
Margaret Mead was among his professors.
Anthropology – the science of humanity.