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Chapter 2

Chapter 2

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Feng Chen

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Salma Chaudhry October 13, 2013 Chapter 2: Classical Sociological Approaches to Education Introduction: Using Theory to Study Schools  Sociology offers competing perspectives and starting points  "Macro" theories  They tend to focus on describing and then explaining the casual transitions from pre- modern to modern societies focusing on broad shifts in economies, cultures, and demographics  Macro would study schooling by linking it to the broad modernizing forces that have transformed the world in the past two centuries (ex. Rise of science)  "Middle-range" theories o More circumcised o Offer propositions that are geared to specific times and places such as particular nation in a particular time period o Middle-range theories study schooling to maybe explain why the Canadian higher education system greatly expanded in the immediate post-Second War Era. o Would examine more proximate causes (ex. Growth of welfare state, economic explosion of 1950's and 1960's and the impact of the baby boom)  "Micro-level" theories o Face to face interactions with people o Potential eye to broader forces o When looking at schooling they might look at a teacher's management tactics or other authority to keep students in control Durkheim and Socialization: The Cultural Shift to Individualism  Individualism was central to the break of traditional societies (ex. Break of religion)  Durkheim focused on the macro level asking the question "with the transition to modern societies, what provides for the social regularity in the modern world?" --> Before it was religion, so what is it now?  Industrialism and democratic reforms had sparked greater individualism  Both American and French revolutions stressed that people should develop their individual characters (revolutionary thinking)  Religion back in the day supplied the norms that prescribed social behaviour so Durkheim now wondered what kept individuals from acting only in their selfish interest? o He went against those who assume individual rationality, or the social contract, as the basis of society o He explained that firstly, trust was fundamental, in order for two people to be in business together or to sign a contract trust was important and secondly, trust came from individuals interacting with one another and said that your very identity or your sense of self comes from others. Even the categories we use to define ourselves, come from others (funny, confident, good-looking)  Durkheim realized that religion placed the individual in an enveloping collective (separate personalities did not exist) however by 1800's people were beginning to form stronger personalities  Circles of interaction were building, so were networks and Durkheim believes that this was the basis for trust. Trust = key ingredient in social cohesion  Third, Durkheim says each of us speaks a language we did not invent  We think with words created by others and mutual understanding is possible only by using a common language that we did not create  Language = a microcosm of society - an example of how rules/resources constitute society  Durkheim argued that social norms were important for providing a moral framework (basis of enduring trust) within mutual agreements (contracts)  Our reliance on a community provides a moral basis for social cohesion  The framework has a dual role: it enables us to act by following the guidelines of the framework (ex. Conversational etiquette) but also constrains us by restricting the range of approved action (ex. No cheating on soc exams) lol what?  Fundamentally for Durkheim - schooling was about the "systematic socialization of the young generation" --> Teaches students ways of seeing, feeling, and acting in ways he or she would have no figured out on their own.  Also focused on morality 1. Stipulated how one should act - "a system of rules of action that predetermine conduct" 2. Acting morally gives some appreciation for the well being of others - "act in the light of collective interest" 3. Acting morally means taking personal responsibility - "have a clear and complete an awareness as possible of the reasons for our conduct"  Education must stress students' learning a "system of rules" and these rules should benefit the collective interest aka society  They have a responsibility of following these rules therefore they must understand why they exist  Socialization = complex relationship that involves the reciprocity b/w individual and society  Schools were to teach students how to be socially responsible, to internalize their obligation to the larger community  Wanted to push science in education (scientific reasoning)  Said education plays a fundamental role in promoting social order, in giving stability to education  Sort of pushes kids to take on adult roles implies preparing them for positions and responsibilities in an adult world similar to the existing society  Durkheim was also concerned with education providing an equal opportunity for everyone. Said education might be too "aristocratic" --> stressing that for the majority of people education should be a route to improving their "material condition"  Education should foster the development of individual talents and capacities Critics of Durkheim say:  Power plays a huge role in governing the morality code in society but Durkheim just focuses on the fact that society is one big happy family with each individual offering betterment via moral codes  Durkheim said that society or moral order governed us but he fails to mention that society does not just turn on like a faucet and fill a vessel, but that children interpret rules and mak
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