Schooled Society: The Educational Transformation of Global Culture

Schooled Society: The Educational Transformation of Global Culture

Schooled Society: The Educational Transformation of Global Culture

Schooled Society: The Educational Transformation of Global Culture

Synopsis

Only 150 years ago, the majority of the world's population was largely illiterate. Today, not only do most people over fifteen have basic reading and writing skills, but 20 percent of the population attends some form of higher education. What are the effects of such radical, large-scale change? David Baker argues that the education revolution has transformed our world into a schooled society-that is, a society that is actively created and defined by education.

Drawing on neo-institutionalism, The Schooled Society shows how mass education interjects itself and its ideologies into culture at large: from the dynamics of social mobility, to how we measure intelligence, to the values we promote. The proposition that education is a primary rather than a "reactive" institution is then tested by examining the degree to which education has influenced other large-scale social forces, such as the economy, politics, and religion. Rich, groundbreaking, and globally-oriented, The Schooled Society sheds light on how mass education has dramatically altered the face of society and human life.

Excerpt

Never before in human society have so many individuals dedicated so much time, energy, and resources to becoming educated. What social scientists call the education revolution has caused unprecedented growth in the number of people going to school throughout the world. With each new generation the amount of education and required academic degrees spiral upward, so that what our grandparents’ generation considered a normal education would now be woefully inadequate. in just 150 years, or across four generations of a family, formal education has gone from a special experience for the few to an ordinary one for most all. While it is now routine for children and youth to spend thirteen to seventeen-plus years sitting long hours in classrooms doing the cognitive work of schooling, it is a remarkable anthropological change.

It is obvious that the world is becoming more educated; what is not so obvious is how much this revolutionizes human society. When the big picture of the education revolution is considered, it is frequently underappreciated. the common opinion, including that of most intellectuals, is that all of this schooling has occurred because society has changed and one “needs it” to live in a complex and sophisticated world. Or more darkly, that education is mostly a myth and serves the purposes of the powerful to reproduce a world where they win. But both opinions miss the real story behind the education revolution: the ubiquitous massive growth and spread of education has transformed our world into a schooled society— a wholly new type of society where dimensions of education reach into, and change, nearly every facet of human life. Formal education, from early childhood to the upper reaches of the university and into lifelong learning programs, has become such an extensive undertaking that society is influenced by its logic and ideas more than the other way around, and this has been so for some time. in fact, it will be shown that along with large-scale capitalism and representative political democracy, the educa-

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