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History of Vocational Education and Training in Europe

Cases, Concepts and Challenges


Edited By Esther Berner and Philipp Gonon

Understanding today’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) systems requires a comprehension of the rise and development, i.e. of the foundations of topical VET. This book provides a comparative view of its development in Europe. The contributions of renowned authors give insight into conceptual questions, cases and challenges in this field.

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Vocational School Policy in Germany in the Context of Securing State Legitimacy


Abstract: The paper draws on a theoretical approach, using the concept of “legitimacy”, to sketch out the development of the construction of legitimacy by the state and its particular relationship with vocational schools in Germany, both historically and with regard to contemporary developments. A recent array of examples is comprised of political reactions from vocational school policy to globalization related issues as well as changes in the context of European Integration. Implications for and limitations of policy development will be discussed vis-à-vis vocational schools.

1.  Introduction

Schools are commonly understood as mandatory institutions offered by the state to each entire generation. They enable young members of a society to participate culturally, but their mandate is also to organize this participation (Wittmann 2009, p. 40). Historically, the founding of schools was based on the Gewaltmonopol (monopoly of coercion) (cf. Fend 1981, p. 16f), meaning the state‘s exclusive authority to legislate and to physically enforce the law, which includes its ability to impose taxes. This monopoly is a central characteristic of the modern nation state, as well as external acknowledgement and a minimum of common welfare orientation (Zürn 1998, p. 37; Weber 1980/1922, p. 822). At the same time, establishing schools has legitimized the existence of the Gewaltmonopol (cf. Fend 1981, p. 16f).

An underlying assumption to this contribution1 is that this applies not only to schools of general education but also for German vocational schools, albeit in a specific and...

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