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New Social Foundations for Education

Education in 'Post Secular' Society

Edited By Philip Wexler and Yotam Hotam

There has been growing scholarly attention to questions about the revival of religion and religiosity on global social, cultural and political fronts and the emergence of a ‘post-secular’ society. New Social Foundations for Education is dedicated to the drawing of the implications of the contemporary ‘post-secular’ social transformation for education. Though the question of the ‘post-secular’ stands at the focal point of a wide range of academic debates and discussions, within educational discourse it has not received close scholarly attention. This volume aims to correct this lack by presenting groundbreaking works of leading scholars from Europe, the United States, and the Middle East. Contributions discuss such topics as the mystical tradition and its social and pedagogic implications; transformative and ecological education; ‘new age’ spiritualism and its educational implications; and the relations between secular and religious education in different local contexts.
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Introduction: New Social Foundations: Education in Post Secular Society

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Introduction

New Social Foundations: Education in Post Secular Society

PHILIP WEXLER & YOTAM HOTAM

Education and Society

The venerable tradition of thinking about Education socially seems to be coming to an end. At least for Schools of Education, there are repeated reports (Tozer and Butts, 2011) that teaching and research in what was, since the 1930s, called “social foundations” of education have been “marginalized.” They have been replaced, on the one hand, by a huge shift in focus—away from the social science disciplinary approaches that defined the social, contextual analysis of education—toward the applied, toward “practice,” both through teacher education and policy studies.

There is an aura of “triumphalism” about the new-found liberation among teacher education and policy researchers. This is not only understandable but also justifiable given the long history of condescension by discipline-trained researchers toward their more professional practice-oriented colleagues in education and the consequences for them personally and for their style of work that suffered from a disciplinary regime which inferiorized research and knowledge in professional practice.

This liberation from the disciplinary bases of the social foundations of education may be deceptive and short-lived—if it only helps pave the way for the incorporation of educational knowledge into nationalistic and corporate agendas of a new capitalism; one which fuses public and private, and where knowledge production and use—in which education is central—is an instrumentalized commodity in...

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