Self-Perfection and Mechanization.
Lessons from the Sociology of Education

Variant title

Perfezionamento e meccanizzazione.
Lezioni dalla sociologia dell'educazione


The purpose of this essay is to show how the relationship between self-perfection and mechanization was perceived in the works of three classics of sociology of education: Karl Marx, Émile Durkheim and Max Weber. The author shows how, in conjunction with the industrial revolution, the traditional pedagogical hierarchy that for millennia had favored the liberal arts over the mechanical arts has been reversed, and how this process has stimulated reflections in the context of classical sociology. The essay also assesses the visions of the future of Marx, Durkheim and Weber, by using the tools offered by Karl Mannheim’s Wissenssoziologie, so as to bring to the surface any ideological and utopian elements of their theories.

Article history

Received 06 June 2021. Revised 25 June 2021. Accepted 30 June 2021. Published online 11 July 2021




Italian (it)


Riccardo CampaJagiellonian University in Krakow


Orbis Idearum Volume 9, Issue 1 (2021), pp. 87-120
The Classics and the History of Education