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Social Origins of Educational Systems


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Table of Contents

1. Thinking and Theorizing about Educational Systems Part I: The Development of State Educational Systems 2. Structure: Education as Private Enterprise 3. Interaction: Competition for Educational Control 4. Structural Elaboration: The Emergence of State Educational Systems Part II: Educational Systems in Action 5. Structure: State Systems and Educational Negotiations 6. Interaction: In the Centralized System 7. Interaction: In the Decentralized System 8. Structural Elaboration: Two Patterns of Educational Change

About the Author

My fascination with structure (where do they come from and how do they exert effects) was prompted by moving from the London School of Economics to become a post-doctoral student at the Sorbonne. Those were the years of the 1968 evenements. It seemed to me that the centralised structure of the French educational system was equally central in accounting for a political outburst which very nearly toppled the Fifth Republic. Conversely, the (then) decentralised nature of English education prompted localised outbursts, whose effects diffused rather than accumulating. The next seven years were devoted to understanding the structuring of national educational systems and their consequences for educational interaction and change. Thus Social Origins of Educational Systems (Sage 1979) is the key book for understanding the research trajectory that followed.
Margaret Archer is Professor of Social Theory Directrice: Centre d'Ontologie Sociale Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne


Previously published reviews: 'A large-scale masterly study, this book is the most important contribution to the sociology of education since the second world war as well as being a substantial contribution to the consolidation of sociology itself.' - The Economist 'I cannot improve on her own statement of what she is trying to do: 'The sociological contribution consists in providing a theoretical account of macroscopic patterns of change in terms of the structural and cultural factors which produce and sustain them'...Unquestionably, this book is an impressive work of scholarship, well planned conceptually and uniting its theoretical base with a set of four thoroughly and interestingly researched case-studies of the history of the educational systems of Denmark, England, France and Russia.' - British Journal of the Sociology of Education 'This magnificent treatise seriously explores many of the most recalcitrant questions about institutional systems.' - Journal of Curriculum Studies 'A gargantuan and impressive socio-historical enterprise.' - Encounter '...a major achievement.' - New Society

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