Education and Social Change

Education and Social Change

Education and Social Change

Education and Social Change


• How has education been transformed over recent decades?

• What is the relationship between education and the state in contemporary society?

• What are the consequences of educational change for schools, teachers, parents and learners?

Education and Social Change undertakes a systematic sociological analysis of contemporary educational policy and practice. In doing so it charts the substantial and significant changes that education systems have undergone over recent decades, and places them within a broader context of social change. Thematically structured, the book brings together a diverse body of material from the sociology of education to provide a coherent and logical text. It takes a comprehensive approach, summarizing transformations that have occurred in educational policy, and addressing the consequences for institutions as well as for teachers, parents and learners. The author explores the complex and changing relationships between the state and the processes and practices of education. She also stresses the importance of educational experiences for the (re)production of collective and individual biographies. The result is an invaluable text for sociology and social policy students as well as for education professionals engaged in training or further study.


In response to perceived major transformations, social theorists have offered forceful, appealing, but contrasting accounts of the predicament of contemporary western societies with important and widespread ramifications for the analysis of all areas of social life and personal well-being. The speculative and general theses proposed by social theorists must be subjected to evaluation in the light of the best available evidence if they are to serve as guides to understanding and modifying social arrangements. One purpose of sociology, among other social sciences, is to marshal the information necessary to estimate the extent and direction of social change. This series is designed to make such information, and debates about social change, accessible.

The focus of the series is the critical appraisal of general, substantive theories through examination of their applicability to different institutional areas of contemporary societies. Each book introduces key current debates and surveys of existing sociological argument and research about institutional complexes in advanced societies. The integrating theme of the series is the evaluation of the extent of social change, particularly in the last twenty years. Each author offers explicit and extended evaluation of the pace and direction of social change in a chosen area.

Amanda Coffey offers careful and critical reflection on controversial debates and issues in educational policy and educational research during the 1990s. She analyses the ways in which changes in educational policy have affected the experience of education both for students and teachers. Very mindful of inequalities of gender, race and sexuality, she discusses issues that anyone with a concern for education will consider to be important. The book is based on a thorough survey of a wide body of literature in the sociology of education concerning not only institutional change but also methodological and ethical matters entailed in the research process. It makes a distinctive contribution to a field which continues to be responsible for generating considerable political disagreement.

Alan Warde . . .

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