All anniversaries have a Janus-like quality. In part, they are occasions for looking back, for deciding what stage has been reached, determining what has been done well, and perhaps also, what might have been done better. In part, they are times for looking forward, for assessing how much of the past remains serviceable as a basis for the future, for seeing what still needs to be done and formulating the objectives of further development. Both exercises are important, for we cannot, even at anniversaries, simply celebrate the passing of time and take the advance for granted. Progress is neither linear nor inevitable. Lively ideas can ossify and hopeful starts may be misconceived, take a wrong turning, or run into the sand.
These general notions are extended by the particular occasion of this volume. The book has been written to commemorate two events. First, it is part of a series which was introduced to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of the University of Durham. Second, 1982 was also the 60th anniversary of the start of the teaching of education within the University of Durham. The School of Education in Durham thought it fitting that both occasions should be celebrated in an enduring form by the production of a volume devoted to a wide range of topics in education, and written by members of staff of the School. We would dissent from Isiah Berlin's assertion that any institution which lasts more than twenty-five years can no longer fulfil its original objectives. Yet an awareness of the potential dangers has, we hope, helped us to produce a volume which is rather more than an exercise in self-congratulation and complacency.
In a very real sense, a Department of Education is a microcosm of a University in that it contains specialists in the Humanities, the Social Sciences and the Physical Sciences. The editors thought it appropriate that the present volume should reflect as much of this diversity as possible. In this context we have tried to analyse afresh some of the traditional assumptions of education to see how far they are still valid, and to re-examine some trends and developments to ascertain to what extent they have fulfilled the intentions and expectations of their origins. This is an enterprise intended to be both critical and constructive. Faced with such a range of educational interests, it would have been false to have chosen a title which claimed a spurious uniformity of subject. But there is a common approach which gives unity to the book.
A word of explanation of the title is perhaps in order. This was a matter of some difficulty. All contributors do have in common this strong . . .