Socialization and Education: Essays in Conceptual Criticism

Socialization and Education: Essays in Conceptual Criticism

Socialization and Education: Essays in Conceptual Criticism

Socialization and Education: Essays in Conceptual Criticism


These three essays on social science terminology examine commonly used words whose meanings, on closer examination, are not clear. The first essay analyzes the term "socialization" as it is used inconsistently by 24 authors in psychology, sociology, and education. Brezinka contends that it is frequently confused with the term "education," to the detriment of both concepts. The second essay, "Models in Educational Theories," examines 15 usages of the term "models," including the vogue expression "paradigm," and finds little of use for the science of education in the concepts. The third essay, "Conflict Education," attacks the New Left and its pedagogical theories for failing to abide by basic principles of concept construction and use. Throughout the book, the author shows how imprecision can be identified and corrected.


One can think about a subject only insofar as one has distinct concepts of it; where these cease, ignorance begins.


There is a lack of clearly defined concepts in the social sciences. Social scientists are all too prone to adopting the latest fashionable words and slogans. The prevailing linguistic unclarity is a consequence of unclear thinking and itself tends to promote unclear thinking. But if we do not recognize vague and ambiguous concepts, statements and statement systems for what they are, they will continue to retard the process of acquiring social scientific knowledge. Therefore linguistic and conceptual analysis is among the necessary prerequisites for unmasking pseudo-knowledge and achieving real knowledge.

This book carefully examines three terms which in the last few decades have become widespread in the social sciences. The greatest amount of attention will be devoted to the term "socialization." Authors of many texts on this topic fail to state precisely what they intend it to mean. Often "socialization" is confused with "education" and "education" with "socialization." Though a fashionable word, it is one which, instead of facilitating, tends to interfere with precise thinking. Its inflationary use is a symptom of conceptual confusion, which prevails as much in psychological and sociological theories of the emergence of personality as in educational theories dealing with actions intended to guide this process.

The conceptual confusion is similarly great with the use of the fashionable word "model." The second chapter is devoted to this term. The third investigates the slogan . . .

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