International Handbook of Curriculum Research

By William F. Pinar | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 36
Subjects, Not Subjects: Curriculum
Pathways, Pedagogies, and
Practices in the United Kingdom
David Hamilton
Gaby Weiner
Umeå University, Sweden

Courses of study entail notions of social order. To follow a curriculum is to be inducted into a social order. From this perspective, curriculum practice has the intention to foster social identities. The visible curriculum and the hidden curriculum are rendered as inseparable.

In this discussion of curriculum research in the United Kingdom, we adopt the framework sketched previously. We pay attention to the prefigurative relationship that exists between curriculum and social structure. We assume that courses of schooling foreshadow specific forms of social order. In turn, we recognize that curriculum change has a functional relationship to changes in the social order. However, we recognize that this functional relationship is problematic: Curricula, like schooling, may work to maintain the social order or they may operate to change the social order. Whatever form or content, courses of schooling cannot be indifferent to the social order, whether it is real, imagined, or desired.

What is the social order? How does it operate at local, regional, national, European, and global levels? How are curricula and social identities configured by these frames? To explore these questions, we focus on four areas of curriculum and practice: (a) the association of curriculum with social order; (b) the growth of curriculum federalism in the United Kingdom under the shadow of the fragile hegemony of the supernational state; (c) the advancement of new pedagogic identities (e.g., those nurtured by education feminism) as a means of injecting social justice into curriculum practice; and (d) the centralist promulgation of a school effectiveness ideology/discourse as a technology of professional and pedagogic differentiation.


CURRICULUM AND SOCIAL ORDER

The word curriculum first appeared in the European educational lexicon during the 16th century. The much older term, curriculum vitae (course of life), was reworked to de-

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