It is our postulate that education is a fundamental and inalienable property of humanity. 

We mean this in the sense that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are fundamental and inalienable.  In that sense education is not something granted by the enlightened to the ignorant.  The power to educate is grounded in the person and the polity must respect it as it must respect life or liberty.  It may only intervene to defend the power to educate against those who would enslave it.  The polity may propose, warn, admonish, but it may not require uncritical alliegance.  And, in any event, it could not succeed in enforcing such a requirement

Education escapes all attempts to control it.  It is always grounded in the here and now of each person's life.  What can be done with one's education is thus a matter of the encounter between a person and a particular environment.

From such a postulate derives, for social scientists, a set of consequences regarding their own practice as social scientists.  In particular, the postulate requires, as is captured in the phrase with which Varenne and McDermott closed their Successful Failure (1998), that systematic research turn away from the person of concern and focus instead systematically on the environment of direct relevance to this person's pursuit of happiness (life, liberty, and education).  Only in this fashion will one respect the freedom of this person, practically and politically, as well as theoretically or philosophically.

Our Center explore these consequences through a variety of linked activities: