Aaron Schutz

Enderis Hall 553

Aaron Schutz

Department of Educational Policy and Community Studies

Aaron Schutz is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Policy and Community Studies. His research agenda focuses on community organizing for social change in urban communities as well as on theories of democracy and democratic education.

Schutz has worked with local community organizing groups in Milwaukee for more than a decade in a range of different roles. Currently he is collaborating on a project to develop a new organizing group based in an inner-city church on the African American north side of Milwaukee. Earlier, he directed a two year project exploring how to engage students in an inner-city high school in social action projects. A forthcoming book, listed below (written with Marie Sandy, another professor in Educational Policy) provides an introduction to community organizing for novices. Earlier, in Open Left, he wrote a continuing series on “Core Dilemmas of Community Organizing,” which he plans to eventually expand into a book-length critical analysis of the limits of current models of organizing. Other future projects in this area include a volume of unpublished papers by famous community organizers edited in collaboration with San Francisco organizer Mike Miller.

In the arena of philosophy of education, his 2010 book, listed below, traces the emergence of progressive visions of democratic education in America over the 20th century. More broadly, his theoretical writings focus on the limits and possibilities of different conceptions of empowerment and agency and the relationship between different models of democratic practice and social class, including examinations of postmodernism, American pragmatism (especially John Dewey), and the writings of the political philosopher Hannah Arendt. Among other courses, he teaches Modern Philosophies of Education, Social Action in Urban Communities, and Community Education for the department.

Many of Schutz’s writings can be found on his website: www.educationaction.org

Selected Publications


Schutz, A. (2010). Social class, social action, and education: The failures of progressive democracy. New York: Palgrave, Macmillan.

Schutz, A. & Sandy, M. (2011, March). Collective action for social change: An introduction to community organizing. New York: Palgrave, Macmillan.

Schutz, A., & Miller, M. (in process). People power: Classic texts in the Alinsky organizing tradition.  Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.


Schutz, A. and Butin, D. (in press). Beyond dependency: Strategies for Saving Foundations. Critical Questions in Education.

Schutz, A. (in press). Power and trust in the public realm: John Dewey, Saul Alinsky, and the limits of progressive democratic education.  Educational Theory 61(4): 491-512.

Fehrman, D. and Schutz, A. (in press.) Beyond the Catch-22 of School-Based Social Action Programs: Toward a more Pragmatic Approach for Dealing with Power. Democracy & Education.

Schutz, A. (2007). Education scholars have much to learn about social action: An essay review of learning power. Education Review Online, 10(3). Available at http://edrev.asu.edu/essays/v10n3index.html.

Schutz, A. (2006). Home is a prison in the global city: The tragic failure of school-based community engagement strategies. Review of Educational Research, 76(4), 691-743.

Schutz, A. (2004). Rethinking domination and resistance: Challenging postmodernism. Educational Researcher, 33(1), 15-23.

View Aaron Schutz's curriculum vitae