Baska Gabriella: Additions to the History of Beliefs about School Corporal Punishment in the 19th Century. A Debate from 1887
In my research, I aimed to interpret the arguments of a professional debate in Hungary in 1887 about the usage of ‘stick punishment’ at school. I used the method of discourse analysis, embedded in the broadest possible system of legal history and cultural history. Based on the discussion, I assume that the intellectual fermentation that took place in the era also served as a basis for the transformation of school practice and the role of the teacher. We are on a frontier in the change of mentality, at least one that may have had a decisive effect on the way of thinking of a part of society. Around this time, part of the lay public was already concerned about the issue of corporal punishment at school, and its critics mostly associated it with the ‘backwardness’ of Hungarian social life. My source was a paper called Néptanoda, published weekly by the Pécs Teachers’ Association from 1867 and functioned as a bulletin for the surrounding teaching associations. Although, as we shall see, they fell short in numbers, there were still participants in the debate who voted for the permanent abolition of the stick punishment as early as 1887. Albeit today’s legislation is prohibitive on corporal punishment, this method of education, which has provoked much controversy, has not yet disappeared entirely from daily practice or the mentality of educators.
With my study, I would like to contribute to the understanding of the argument system of the previous discourse in this regard.
Keywords: 19th century, corporal punishment, elementary school, elementary school teacher,