Education Policy and Realist Social Theory: Primary Teachers, Child-Centred Philosophy, and the New Managerialism

By Robert Willmott | Go to book overview
Save to active project

1

Structure, agency and educational change

Morphogenesis and the need for analytical dualism

Introduction

As indicated in the introduction, the principal aim of this book is to theorise about the interplay of child-centred philosophy, (new) managerialism and teacher mediation via the morphogenetic approach. It may therefore strike some readers as odd that my first chapter is devoted solely to thinking about social structure and human agency. Whilst structural analysis always needs to be complemented by cultural analysis, the reason for devoting this chapter to structure is two-fold. First, in order to provide a robust explanatory grip on structural (and cultural) dynamics, a particular social ontology and concomitant methodology have to be outlined and defended. The social ontology defended throughout this book is a stratified one, grounded in transcendental realism, and practically fleshed out, so to speak, by the latter's methodological complement of the morphogenetic approach. In view of the complexity of the morphogenetic approach's corpus of methodological propositions vis-à-vis structure, and their transposability to culture, it makes sense to spell out in some detail its explanatory methodology before linking culture in the next chapter. However, second, the morphogenetic approach is explicitly counterposed to Giddens's (1979, 1984) structuration theory in order to highlight the primacy that the former gives to ontological rigour as against structuration theory's ontological (and methodological) dilution. Many sociologists were quick to join the structurationist bandwagon (Willmott 2000b). Educational sociology has by no means been immune from this bandwagon effect. However, the reason for this is entirely laudable yet over-hasty. Its laudability derives from the need to avoid reifying social structure, treating it as a 'thing' above-and-beyond agency; its haste consists of compacting them into one indistinguishable amalgam, thereby precluding examination of their interplay over time. This chapter will proceed more slowly, arguing that a stratified approach to structure and agency does not entail reifying the two (or conceiving of them as separate).


What is transcendental realism?

At a common-sense level, it would seem that attachment to realism implies a rational grasp of the way things are, which in turn guides subsequent action. However, critical realism begins from the premise that the way things are affects us

-7-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Education Policy and Realist Social Theory: Primary Teachers, Child-Centred Philosophy, and the New Managerialism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 259

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?