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The sociology of education and the European project of school modernisation

by Florent Bick last modified 2010-11-05 10:21

DALE Roger

University of Bristol

The sociology of education and the European project of school modernisation

Sociology of Education has, for the last 50 years or so, framed its topic within three implicit parameters. It has been concerned largely with education within national boundaries. It has taken as more or less a default expectation that education will be funded, provided and regulated as a public, state responsibility. And it has assumed that education systems are framed around an implicit social contract based on three elements; personal development, the possibility of personal and social mobility and advancement, and significant contributions to national economic development and social cohesion. The changes that are assembled under the heading of globalisation have undermined and altered radically the bases of at least the first two of these parameters. The activities of various international organisations—including the EU—have ensured that education can no longer be seen as exclusively a national enterprise. There have been qualitative and quantitative changes in both the activities that education was to undertake, and in the range of agents and agencies involved in discharging those activities. In Europe, both these shifts are in part driven by and reflected in the activities of the EU in its education-related activities. However, it is the third aspect of ‘Education’, the implicit social contract, that is the main concern of this paper. Here, it will be argued that Europe’s modernisation agenda for education, the main focus of this paper, is limited to and concentrated on the third of the elements set out above. Moreover, the conceptions of ‘modernisation’ deployed in what might be seen as ‘European education policy’ are multi-faceted and polyvalent. The paper will focus on these aspects, and how their operationalisation relates to the other two aspects of the education social contract.

Education et sociétés
Numéro 21
Former des élites dans un monde incertain
Coordonné par Yves Dutercq
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AISLF
Association internationale des sociologues de langue françaiseComité de recherche n °7 Éducation, Formation, Socialisation
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