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Discourse Formation in Comparative Education


Edited By Jürgen Schriewer and Jürgen K. Schriewer

New theories and theory-based methodological approaches have found their way into Comparative Education – just as into Comparative Social Science more generally – in increasing number in the recent past. The essays of this volume express and critically discuss quite a range of these positions such as, inter alia, the theory of self-organizing social systems and the morphogenetic approach; the theory of long waves in economic development and world-systems analysis; historical sociology and the sociology of knowledge; as well as critical hermeneutics and post-modernist theorizing. With reference to such theories and approaches, the chapters – written by scholars from Europe, the USA and Australia – outline alternative research agendas for the comparative study of the social and educational fabric of the modern world. In so doing, they also expound frames of reference for re-considering the intellectual shaping, or Discourse Formation, of Comparative Education as a field of study.


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Preface to the First Edition xiii


Preface xiii PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION Discourse Formation is a term originating from the history and sociology of the sciences and from findings generated by these disciplines. Discourse formation thus refers to insights into the constructedness of academic knowledge, as well as to models meant to conceptualize such insights.1 More specifically, this term emphasizes the fact that institutionalized fields of academic study, in general, and the social sciences including comparative education, in particular, are a historical as much as an intellectual enterprise. These fields, in varying forms and to varying degrees, bear the imprint of specific institutional settings, changing intellectual trends, and diverse socio-political conditions. It is social actors from different arenas – politicians as well as academics, ministry officials as well as leading intellectuals, and publicists as well as spokesmen of particular professions – who, through dialogue and lobbying, contribute to either bringing to the fore or to eclipsing particular paradigms, intellectual currents, or theoretically defined research programs. Thus, including a concept like discourse formation in the title of a volume dedicated to re-considering the intellectual shaping of and fruitful research agendas for comparative education, means adopting a distinctive intellectual vantage point. This vantage point allows theorists in the field to relativize orthodox methodologies and to historicize taken-for-granted concepts and models. It is a vantage point, furthermore, which brings 1. See, e.g., Discourses on Society: The Shaping of the Social Science Disciplines, ed. by Peter Wagner, Björn Wittrock & Richard Whitley. Sociology of the Sciences: A Yearbook, vol. XV (Dordrecht...

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