Theory and research in social education

Theory and research in social education

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Theory and research in social education
National Council for the Social Studies -- College and University Faculty Assembly
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in eory and Kesearcn in Social Education Volume 9 Number 4 Winter 1982 a In this issue : The theory of social education I `


Volume 9 t Number 4 t Winter 1982 TRSE is the official journal of the College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies Published quarterly, it is a general review open to all social studies educators, social scientists, historians and philosophers A general statement of purpose, and submission, subscription and advertising information may be found at the end of the journal €1982 by the College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies All rights reserved Theory and Research in Social Education


Volume 9 t Number 4 t Winter 1982 TRSE is the official journal of the College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies Published quarterly, it is a general review open to all social studies educators, social scientists, historians and philosophers A general statement of purpose, and submission, subscription and advertising information may be found at the end of the journal €1982 by the College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies All rights reserved Theory and Research in Social Education


Contents iv Theory and Social Education : The Theme and the Issue Thomas S Popkewitz B Robert Tabachnick 1 t Reappraising the Theoretical Goals of Research in Social Education James P Shaver 17 Culture and Rationality in Frankfurt School Thought : Ideological Foundations for a Theory of Social Education Henry A Giroux 57 Discourse and Criticism in the Social Studies Classroom Cleo H Cherryholmes 75 A Question of Generalizability Max Stephen 91 Probing the Connection between Modes of Language and Curriculum Theorizing in Social Studies Angene H Wilson 105 Reaction/Response Moral Education and Transfer Daniel Pekarsky 113 Book Review Teaching Values in College, by Richard L Morrill Reviewed by Hugh Wease iii


Theory and Social Education : The Theme and the Issue It may be fitting that this, our last issue as editors of the Journal, should be devoted to the theme of theory in social education While the title of this journal is Theory and Research in Social Education, there has been little systematic attention given in these pages to the concept "theory ." "Why," one might ask, "does this occur?" Perhaps it is assumed that the meaning of "theory" is known and the task at hand is practical and not reflective Or one might feel some hesitancy in tackling the problem because of the juxtaposition of "theory" to "research" in the journal's title One might consider that theory is somehow different from research rather than the two standing in unity Or perhaps at the heart of the matter are structural issues which limit discussion A quick glance at graduate programs, for example, might reveal an emphasis upon the procedures of research (statistical procedures, field methods, problems in research designs and so on) creating an illusion that methodological problems stand as distinct and separate from the conceptual lenses and theories that guide scientific discourse Traditions of professional education and categorical dichotomies often limit our self-reflection, and thus our practices may work against our ability to do science At the center of that self-reflection should be the nature and meaning of theory All empirical work contains theoretical assumptions about the nature of the phenomena investigated There is no data outside of theory Scientific invention, imagination and creativity are tied to theory A substantive element of our scientific discourse, therefore, must give attention to the nature and character of theory The issue of theory is intensified in a scientific community that values pluralism Much of the sociology and history of science in the West has emphasized the importance of different theoretical positions It is argued that the conflict produced by different intellectual approaches is central to the vitality of inquiry The cross-fertilization of ideas is thought to prevent the crystalization and stagnation of inquiry The competition among different intellectual perspectives strengthens the validity of social inquiry, compensating for unavoidable biases resulting from the fact that scientists are human beings, unable to isolate their socio-political selves from their scientific selves The confrontation of different ideas is also thought essential to the creativity and imagination of scientific work The conflict in the social and educational sciences is, in part, the result of the various conceptual perspectives brought to bear upon the problems of schooling We think about classrooms as "linguistic communities," places of "decision-making" or "socialization," as containing "perspectives on teaching" or as representing "moral stages of development ." In each instance, a conceptual perspective provides a series of words that guides us in a particular way to see and talk about classrooms or schools iv


Each conceptual perspective provides a form to theory by orienting us to the phenomena of study As relationships are identified and illustrated from the observations of school, the theories further take on an empirical character, being extended, modified or refuted by the data drawn from the ongoing world Much of the debate in the social and educational sciences had given focus to the conceptual and empirical problems of theory Should one view classroom activities as "socialization" or "decision-making"? What is not considered when a conceptual perspective is used? How can our conceptual lenses be made more rigorous and theoretically potent? Theoretical conflict in social science can be thought of as the result of different underlying assumptions, commitments and values that guide research Thomas Kuhn's work on the history of science calls attention to different paradigms or disciplinary matrices that compete within scholarly disciplines The different conceptual perspectives that were previously seen in conflict can now be viewed as not so much in conflict about assumptions but as in competition within a paradigm While providing different ways of selecting and organizing data, much of the research conducted in "political socialization," "decision-making" or "moral reasoning," for example, contains coherence in certain paradigmatic assumptions These assumptions evolve around what is called behavioral sciences, social sciences which posit a vision of human affairs in which there are lawlike regularities and which maintain methodological commitments to theory based upon observable phenomena and the development of formal languages of argument The idea of paradigm, therefore, directs attention, first, to the interrelation of assumptions, commitments and theories that give direction to a science and, second, to the interplay of the different paradigms in giving coherence to scientific work It would be inadequate for example, to view the commitments and theoretical positions within the behavioral sciences in isolation Behavioral sciences exist within a dynamic context of other paradigms that also articulate views of science and of theory In a different context it has been argued that there are at least three paradigms that give direction to scientific interests in education .' These are : (1) empirical-analytic, an approach that encompass the behavioral sciences' focus upon a search for law-like regularities in human conduct ; (2) symbolic or interpretive sciences which focus upon how human interactions produce rule-making and rule-governed actions, and (3) critical sciences which adopt the sociological motif of debunking, seeking to illuminate the ways in which social relations have developed and the mechanism of social life that obscure social interests 'Thomas S Popkewitz, Paradigms and Field-Based Methodologies in Educational Research and Evaluation, in The Study of Schooling, T S Popkewitz and B R Tabachnick (eds .), New York, Praeger, 1981 V


Of central importance in these different paradigms is the different meaning of and use for educational theory Rather than one view of theory, there are multiple views, each containing the root assumptions, commitments and values that are drawn from its paradigmatic tradition The empirical analytic sciences, for example, direct attention to a meaning of theory concerned with increasing the administrative efficiency of social institutions The experimental quality of much of this research promotes theory that is concerned with the appropriate application of technique to realize defined goals under given conditions Symbolic or interpretive sciences seek to generate theory that clarifies the conditions under which improved communication leads to more "productive" social interactions The theoretical concern of the critical sciences is with uncovering the pretensions, deceptions, self-deceptions and propaganda through which people cloak their actions with each other Where the first two paradigms involve the development of theories that are to lead directly to the improvement of our social conditions, the latter is a negative science For the critical science, the purpose of theory is to uncover the past that is embedded in the present, and that limits the potential and possibilities of our existence The theoretical purpose and the nature of descriptive and explanatory qualities represented in each of the paradigms represent different but complementary paths to scientific knowledge about our human condition It is our view that different meanings to theory are a normal and integral element of the human enterprise that we call science It is "normal" because the social scientist lives in the world s/he studies and draws the language of inquiry from the commonsense experiences and events of that world These experiences involve continual conflicts with people arguing for different paths to salvation The different paths (liberal, conservative, radical socialist and the vast range between) contain visions about community, social order and individuality As with that larger world in which we live, the various paradigms in educational research represent the deeper conflict and debate of our human conditions Our sciences can never be aloof from these larger debates but partisan Yet, to illuminate the different meanings of theory is to enlarge our understanding of human and educational science and thereby increase its possibilities It is to the different meanings, purposes and values that underlie theory that the issue devotes its attention James Shaver challenges the belief that an adequate, positivistic theory can be developed in an educational science He suggests that the question of theory should be reoriented to include broader considerations about what data should be collected and for what purposes Social theory, he suggests, is distinctly different from natural science theory and, in the context of education, may be directed toward a "more adequate knowledge informing decisions ." Cleo Cherryholmes and Henry Giroux draw upon European traditions of vi


critical theory to consider the purpose and nature of theory Cherryholmes argues that social studies education contains epistemological and ideological structures that have been uncritically accepting of the reproductive aspects of society Drawing upon continental social theory and, in particular the Frankfurt School of social theory, Cherryholmes proposes an alternative set of assumptions and characteristics of theoretical and practical discourse for schooling Giroux' article provides a comprehensive review, analysis and interpretation of the Frankfurt School of social theory His purpose is to identify theoretical assumptions that can unify understanding, critique and transformations in social education Max Stephens also poses a skepticism towards conventional notions of theory by considering the problem of generalization He suggests that educators have been overly concerned with procedural questions of generalization, leaving unscrutinized the theoretical basis of a science of education On one hand Stephens agrees with Shaver's basic agreement about the limitations of conceptual notions of theory in education His argument, however, seeks to redefine the meaning of generalization and therefore the view of theory that is appropriate In this discussion, the nature of appropriate procedures and data of research is broadened to include nonstatistically based methodologies Stephens, as do Giroux and Cherryholmes, accepts the idea that theory and practical discourse are interrelated A different, linguistic, perspective is developed by Angene Wilson She focuses upon the meaning of theory through theories of languages and arrives at different but complementary forms by which theoretical knowledge can be developed Taken as a whole, the essays suggest that the nature and character of theory must be viewed problematically and as reflecting sets of assumptions and values that respond to our pluralistic traditions These traditions, as the essays suggest, do not lie solely in scholarly life but emerge from and are to social and cultural life The examination of the meaning, assumptions and values found in theories of social education leads us to consider one further dimension of the discussion of theory As the authors clearly illustrate, the creation of theory has not only "ideational" purposes but practical functions as well Whether we label the theory as having importance to decision-makers or to ideological structures in society, there seems to be agreement that the nature of theory is to influence the practical elements of our daily life Theory does not only describe and interpret It selects, organizes and channels our thought towards what is appropriate and reasonable as possibilities of our existence As such our underlying assumptions of theory influence the conceptions of content, our adaptation of teaching strategies and our rationales for the organization of curriculum Questions of theory and fact become interrelated with views about what we want society to be as well as what we think society is This latter point raises questions about our traditional position of empirical theory as distinct from normative theory vii


As our three year tenure as editors comes to an end, it is important that we acknowledge the many people who have helped us in the publication of the journal The College and University Faculty Assembly Executive Committee has given us support and advice that has been invaluable In particular we would like to thank Gerald Marker and Murry Nelson who, through the years, have helped us through crises of finance In addition, we would like to thank many people who have served on the editorial board and as reviewers Their sound advice about journal policy and articles has strengthened the contributions found on the pages of this journal The review process has served to maintain peer involvement in article selection as well as insightful comments for both authors and editors to consider We must acknowledge the administrative assistance provided by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and our Department of Curriculum and Instruction The Department has provided expert editorial assistance over three years These include Emmanual Ekpunobi, Chwee Lye Chung and, for the past two years, Paula Bozoian In particular Ms Bozoian's editorial knowledge and printing savvy have helped to produce a more polished and artful journal It is to Donna Schleicher that we owe whatever organizational efficiency there is She has ensured that checks were deposited in the correct accounts, that university procedures were followed without having them burden the publishing effort, and just watched over the editors as a guardian angel Carol Newland has always come through in a pinch to type ; Diane Falkner has overseen the international mailing Finally, we need to thank the UW-Madison Publications Office, in particular Gabrielle Cooke Their expertise with typesetting and paste-up, and their work as liaison with our printers enabled us to minimize the cost of the journal while increasing its esthetic appeal During the three years there have been some policy changes in the journal that, we think, have helped to improve its quality For the past two years, the editorial board met at the NCSS convention to discuss policy and advise the editors We think this is a positive policy which helps increase involvement of our colleagues in the journal and also provides the editors with ideas that can only help to improve the journal In addition, there have been two theme issues ; one on the history of social studies, which appeared last winter, and the current issue on theory in social education The themes provided a way in which the editors were able to focus upon issues central to the vitality of the field but that have not received adequate attention in the journal The introduction of themes, however, did not reduce peer review policy or access to the journal that is so important Editors : Thomas S Popkewitz B Robert Tabachnick


Theory and Research in Social Education Volume 9 Number 4, Winter 1982, pp 1-16 € by The College and University Faculty Assembly of The National Council for the Social Studies Reappraising the Theoretical Goals of Research in Social Education James P Shaver Utah State University The 1960s and early 1970s were a time for optimism about the future of educational research generally and social studies research in particular Federal funding for educational research on a moderately large scale had become a reality during the late 1950s It was assumed by many, including me, that with more research would come an accretion of findings that would lead to validated generalizations and, finally, to confirmed theory The basic epistemological assumption was, in Pillemer and Light's (1980) later words, that "as more and more data accumulate under improved experimental conditions, knowledge [will] converge upon an underlying truth" (p 193) By the mid-1970s, however, it was becoming clear to many observers that the theoretical promise was not coming to pass Research results were collecting, but sound generalizations and, especially, validated educational theory were not Certainly, knowledge was not accumulating in the sense of the theory of the "hard" sciences that has allowed for precise prediction and control (see, e .g ., Cronbach, 1975, p 125 ; Larkins & McKinney, 1980, p 14) and provided the basis for engineering feats in space, communications, weaponry, and medicine that have often seemed on the verge of moving us into science fiction futures Expressions of dismay about the lack of accumulated knowledge from educational research-and social studies research in particular-are common As Gage (1978) noted : "Most reviewers of research on teaching have concluded their reports by saying that past work has been essen' My appreciation to A Guy Larkins for his usual incisive, helpful comments on an earlier draft of this article Despite several revisions, I am sure that he will continue to disagree with much of what is said herein, in large part because we are operating from different tenets of faith a circumstance not openly or widely enough recognized in disputes over approaches to educational research 1


tially fruitless" (p 229) My own skeptical view (Shaver, 1979b) was that "there would have been little discernible effect on educational practice if most of the studies reported in educational journals and dissertations had never been conducted" (p 3) Clifford (1973, p 23) summarized similar views In the social studies area specifically, Wiley (1977) indicated that "Many reviewers have expressed concern over the lack of a cumulative research base in social studies/social science education" (p 165), and findings in the area of effectiveness and efficiency of instructionial methods and techniques appear to be "fairly chaotic" with "few conclusions that one can endorse with much confidence and few guidelines for practitioners" (p 171) It is not that educational research has had no impact on school practices As Clifford (1973) noted, occasionally studies-not necessarily the least deficient or most sophisticated in design and execution-have influenced schooling But, overall, educational research, including that in social studies, has not fulfilled the theoretical expectations to which the successes of the physical sciences led us to aspire The reasons offered for the shortfall have been many To some analysts (e .g ., Kerlinger, 1977), the difficulty was strategic : a failure to focus sufficiently on basic as opposed to applied research Others suggested that methodological shortcomings niight be the obstacle : for example, an over-reliance on inferential statistics and infrequent replication of findings (e .g ., Shaver, 1979a, b) ; the lack of adequate attention to population-sampling considerations (Brickell, 1974 ; Shaver & Norton, 1980a, b) ; the overemphasis on quantitative, group experimental designs and too few efforts by researchers to set their studies in theoretical contexts (e .g ., Shaver & Larkins, 1973) ; and the use of insufficient means for synthesizing research findings (Glass, 1977 ; Jackson, 1978) Some assessors of educational and psychological research even began to raise a more ominous possibility : developing more sophisticated methods, trying to be more "scientific," even paying greater attention to research-theory relationships, would not produce the desired payoffs in scientific theory These commentators (e .g ., Gergen, 1973 ; Cronbach, 1975 ; Shaver, 1979b) argued that a change in goals might be necessary The prognosis for scientific theory in education is still unclear What follows is a discussion of some of the issues related to the prospects for educational research which leads to nomothetic, scientific theories-theories that "ideally tell us the necessary and sufficient conditions for a particular result," allow the forecasting of outcomes "with a reasonable margin of error," once parameters are specified, and include 2


statements of the "boundary conditions that limit [their] application" (Cronbach, 1975, p 125 ; also see Larkins & McKinney, 1980, p 14) 2 Educational Research as Immature Science How can the paucity of theoretical outcomes from educational research be accounted for? One explanation could be that educational research is a relatively young field and pessimism about its theoretical future is premature (Suppes, 1974) Some five decades ago, John Dewey (1929) commented on the immaturity of the "sciences which must be drawn upon to supply content to the work of the practitioner in education" (p 40), and noted that "education is still in a condition of transition from an empirical to a scientific status" (p 14) Dewey has not been alone in his appraisal of scientific immaturity in educational research, an assessment which is implicitly optimistic in regard to potential Science historian Thomas Kuhn (1970a, c), one of the major challengers of the "accretion" or "development-by-accumulation" view of science, 3 cites the social sciences as examples of "immature" sciences (1970c, pp 15, 160-1) Not only is educational research a subset of the social sciences, with special commonalities with social psychology, but Kuhn's characterization of immature sciences sounds very much like contemoporary educational research "there is a multiplicity of comz This article might have been introduced by an extensive definition of "scientific theory," but such a discussion did not seem pertinent A few comments to elaborate on the references to scientific theory in the preceding paragraphs should suffice To be scientifically acceptable, a theory must lead to accurate explanations and predictions within the set of phenomena defined as within its scope Such theory is universal, in the sense that it must apply to all of the referent phenomena For example, chemical reactions are assumed not to be governed by different principles today than they were in the eighteenth century, although our understanding of the reactions does differ At the same time, accepted theory may be incomplete For example, Newtonian dynamics theory did not provide adequate solutions to problems in which the velocity of bodies was large compared to the velocity of light In fact, if Kuhn (1970c) is correct, it is in large part the dissonance created by such exceptions that leads to the development of new theories Moreover, contrary to logical positivist tenets, accepted theories can conflict with one another For example, acceptance of Einstein's relativistic dynamics does not entail the conclusion that the Newtonian theory of dynamics was wrong Despite the greater comprehensiveness of Einsteinian theory, Newtonian dynamics is still used successfully by engineers and physicists for selected applications (See Kuhn, 1970c ; pp 98-110 .) 3 See Suppe (1977) Kuhn's view of scientific revolutions has not gone unchallenged (see Lakatos & Musgrave, 1970 ; Wade, 1973 ; Suppe, 1977) In fact, Suppe contended that, by 1977, while the Weltenschauungen analysts, such as Kuhn and Feyerbrand, were still developing their ideas and the ideas were still being discussed in the philosophical literature, "contemporary philosophy of science, although strongly influenced by [them], has gone beyond . and the Weltenschauugen views, in a word, today are passe" (pp 633-4) That is a rather strong judgment at a time when Kuhn's writings are just beginning to infiltrate the social studies research literature Suppe's judgment is not shared by Gale (1979) who believes that Kuhn's idea of paradigms is accepted as significant by "most students of the sciences" (p 75) 3


peting schools [and] evidence of progress, except within schools, is hard to find" (1970c, p 163) To apply Kuhn's idea of mature and immature science it is necessary to define "paradigm" the key concept in his The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (first published in 1962) According to Kuhn, a paradigm is what the members of a scientific community ("the practitioners of a scientific specialty" [Kuhn, 1977, p 461]) share "that enable[s] them to solve puzzles and that account[s] for their relative unanimity in problemchoice and in the evaluation of problem solutions" (Kuhn, 1970b, p 271) Kuhn (1970b, 1977) has, however, agreed with Masterman (1970 ; also see Suppe, 1977, pp 136-137) that his use of "paradigm" was, at best, ambiguous Because the multiple meanings of the word were the basis for so many misunderstandings among his critics, Kuhn (1970b) suggested that a better term would have been "disciplinary matrix ." His definition of that term suggests more clearly what it is that a mature scientific community shares in a paradigm Included are "symbolic generalizations," "models . metaphysical . or heuristic," "values, like . accuracy of prediction," and other elements such as "concrete problem solutions, the . standard examples of solved problems . encounter[ed] first in student laboratories, in the problems at the ends of chapters in science texts, and on examinations" (pp 271-272 ; also see 1977, p 462ff) Initially, Kuhn considered immature sciences to be in a pre-paradigm state (1970c, e .g ., pp 11, 13, 18-20, 163) Indeed, he was led to recognize the central role of paradigms in scientific research during a year at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Science when he "was struck by the number and extent of the overt disagreements between social scientists about the nature of legitimate scientific problems and methods . [and by] the controversies over fundamentals that today often seem endemic among, say, psychologists or sociologists" as contrasted with those who practice "astronomy, physics, chemistry, or biology" (1970c, p viii) He commented, "It remains an open question what parts of social science have yet acquired such paradigms at all" (1970c, p 15) In pre-paradigm, immature research fields, all potentially relevant facts seem to be equally pertinent, and fact-gathering tends to be somewhat random and confined to readily available data (Kuhn, 1970c, p 15) There can, however, be "a sort of scientific research" (p 11), although the result of the research activity is "something less than science" (p 13 ; also see pp 16, 163) In the pre-paradigm state, writing books is an important task because each researcher starts again from the beginning Laymen can grasp the field by reading original research reports because there is not a shared esoteric professional paradigm (pp 13, 20) 4


Masterman (1970, pp 73-4) took strong exception to this view of preparadigm, immature science, and suggested that it was more valid to think in terms of "non-paradigm" science which is largely philosophic and "multiple-paradigm" science where, rather than no paradigm, there are too many The latter, she argued, is the status of the social sciences Many have quite advanced technologies, but often within fields that intuition indicates are overly narrow and trivial There are specific but discordant operational definitions And "discussion on fundamentals remains, and long-run progress (as opposed to local progress) fails to occur" (p 74) Kuhn (1970b, p 272 ; 1977, p 460) concurred with Masterman's analysis, but noted that his description of immaturity still stood That is, in immature sciences there are a number of competing schools, each coming at the same subject matter in a different way-and, it should be emphasized, with considerable controversy and little clear overall progress Educational research clearly fits Kuhn's view of immature science 4 Much of it, as with other social sciences, appears to be multi-paradigm ; but research in social studies education appears to be pre-paradigm or, in Masterman's terms, non-paradigm As Metcalf (1963) noted, after looking at three major summaries of social studies research : The three summaries suggest that research on teaching the social studies has not been guided by a framework or theory that would make possible a distinction between basic and trivial investigations (p 933) There are competing conceptions of social studies education but not competing schools of social studies education research There is philosophical debate, not paradigm competition And, there is a basic absence of research thrust, a lack which appears to be notable even for educational research Is the dearth of theory-research relationships (i .e ., research guided by theory, and theory articulated, specified, reformulated, and applied by research [Kuhn, 1970c, Ch 3], as well as challenged by anomalous findings [Ch 6]) a function only of the immaturity of the field? Can Social Studies Research Yield Theory? The consideration of scientific immaturity as a possible explanation for the lack of theoretical fruitfulness of a social science > educational > social studies researchs has, as I have noted, a certain optimistic ring Immaturity implies the possibility, if not an explicit likelihood, of maturity Less hopeful is the view implicit in the common distinction be For a recent demonstration of this point, see ornstein and Levin (1981) 5 Read : "Social science research which encompasses educational research which encompasses social studies education research ." 5


tween the "hard" and "soft" sciences, based on the ability of the research field to establish validated truth with its particular subject matter Clearly, social science > educational > social studies research falls at the soft science pole as far as sound theory is concerned Boulding (1980) has, however, disputed the hard-soft science image as illusionary He proposed that it is more valid to think in terms of "secure" and "insecure" fields of knowledge, with secure fields those in which knowledge is not likely to change rapidly And, he argued, some fields of knowledge about humans typically thought of as "soft," such as human history, are undoubtedly more secure than some fields of knowledge thought of as "hard" science, such as paleontology Moreover, Boulding introduced a note of hopefulness by directly denying that there is a "single `scientific method,' a touchstone that can distinguish what is scientific from what is not" (p 833), and by calling for the development of research methods appropriate to different epistemological fields Boulding's call is not only congruent with Kuhn's emphasis on research methodology as a distinct part of the paradigms that guide research in scientific fields,, but with admonitions to educational researchers (including social studies educators) to analyze the appropriateness of their methodologies for coming to know about human behavior and about processes of human learning in particular (see, e .g ., Shaver, 1979a, b, 1980) Is it realistic to expect that appropriate research methods and strategies can be found so that educational research will not only becomed a more secure field of knowledge but will mature as a science? One answer is suggested by the attributes of Boulding's insecure fields of knowledge They are ones in which "the available data only cover a small part of the total field . ., the actual structures and relationships . are extremely complex . [as, e .g .,] our knowledge of human behavior," the events studied are not "common and repeatable-at-will," and extreme, but important events which have low probabilities are difficult to study (pp 834-5) These are attributes of social science > educational > social studies research, and it is dubious that attention to methodology can overcome the obstacles to scientific theory-building which they present I continue to be impressed by the thoughts of Gergen (1973), Cronbach (1975), and Snow (1977) in this regard Gergen (1973) addressed theory-building in social psychology, which has much in common with education He argued that unlike the natural sciences [social psychology] deals with facts that are largely nonrepeatable [see Dewey, 1929, p 65] and which fluctuate markedly over time Principles of human interaction cannot readily be developed over time because the facts on which they are based do not generally remain stable . [and] such knowledge does not generally transcend its historical boundaries (p 310) 6


Others, such as Cameron (1963), have discussed the difficulties in applying experimental methods from the physical and biological sciences to research with humans Included are greater uncertainty that a sample will represent the population ; greater likelihood that the research will change that which is the subject of investigation ; the effects of the researcher on the outcomes of the research (i .e ., experimenter effects) ; greater difficulty in controlling relevant variables Boulding (1980) suggested correctly that experimental methods are only one among many ways to gain knowledge about human behavior But Gergen has gone further than Cameron, both in discussing the shortcomings of research with humans and by not limiting his discussion to experimentation According to Gergen (1973), cultural changes over time invalidate social science research findings and make the building of theory in regard to human behavior a tenuous process Moreover, he argued, research plays a significant role in such changes Those who study human interactions have values in regard to social relations that not only influence the selection of research topics and methods, but also lead to prescriptive reports 6 In addition, social science research results are widely disseminated, thereby changing behavior dispositions in two ways : people are enlightened they become more sensitive to the effects of the variables and react accordingly ; and people may strive to invalidate findings that seem to suggest a conception of humanness to which they object The dissemination of research results might be restricted in the interest of validity, but that hardly seems desirable, especially in education Or, a theory might be constructed to account for the reactive effects of research dissemination ; but that theory, too, Gergen argued, would create reactions which would need to be taken into account, and so on ad infinitum Gergen's contentions have not received widespread attention The article did generate some negative reactions (e .g ., Schlenker, 1974)' and at least one positive reference to it as a "telling event" (Buss, 1975) Cronbach (1975) concurred with Gergen's analysis, but added another dimension to skepticism about building scientific theory through educational research the complex interactions between such factors as treatment characteristics, person traits, and situational dimensions that are not only 6 The human-social factor may well play a more central role in the scientific nonproductivity of social science research than I have accorded it, as Thomas S Popkewitz has reminded me in correspondence Social science researchers function in a very different psychological-social context vis-a-vis their subject matter than do those in the physical and biological sciences The difficulty of extricating oneself from his or her own social milieu in order to study it and the varying unconscious as well as conscious perspectives which each researcher brings from his or her past militate against objective intellectualization Although physical and biological scientists do get caught in personal jealousies and overzealous commitment to hypotheses, at least their subject matter is further removed from themselves as humans Also see Volume 2, 1976, of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 7


difficult to ferret out but potentially almost unlimited As Cronbach (1975) noted : Once we attend to interactions, we enter a hall of mirrors that extends to infinity However far we carry our analysis to third order of fifth order or any other untested interactions of still higher order can be envisioned (p 119) The matter of interactions also led Snow (1977) to conclude that general instructional theory is impossible Will educational research, and social studies education research in particular, mature as a science? I must concur with Gergen and Cronbach (as I have done in this journal before [1979, p 391]), as wellsummarized by Cronbach (1975) It is unrealistic to model our work on the physical sciences, aspiring to amass empirical generalizations, to restructure them into more general laws, and to weld scattered laws into theory (p 125) The aspiration to scientific theory will not be realized because : rarely is a social or behavioral [or educational] phenomenon isolated enough to have [a] steady-process property Hence the explanations we live by will perhaps always remain partial and distant from real events . and rather short lived . Our troubles do not arise because human events are in principle unlawful ; man and his creations are part of the natural world The trouble is . that we cannot store up generalizations and constructs for ultimate assembly into a network (p 123) Boulding's (1980) plea for the development of research methods appropriate to the epistemological constraints of different fields of knowledge is valid ; but while the result in education and social studies education in particular may be more adequate knowledge for informing decisions, I hold little hope that it will be scientific, nomothetic theory Alternatives Of course, for many the above line of argument will not be persuasive They will continue in their logical empiricist hope (Wade, 1977) to accumulate knowledge into theory or, alternatively, to reach a paradigmatic state, in Kuhn's terms, that will provide the basis for focused, productive research and clear clashes between old and new paradigms Hopefully, they will consider Perrow's (1981) admonition that attempts to impose order in human behavior through rational designs, including theories which rarely predict well, may well run contrary to the natural disorder and unpredictability in human affairs which was recognized in Greek tragedy Such a position does not mean that one ought to give up trying to make sense out of education, but rather that 8


we should acknowledge our limitations in constructing systems of propositions to explain human behavior Would social studies education research have no function if we were to abandon the goal of constructing scientific theory? That question to a large extent poses a strawman As has been lamented frequently in the literature and as one wouild expect in a non-paradigm field little research in social studies education has been guided by theory (see Shaver & Norton, 1980a, for some data on this matter) The question should probably be rephrased : Should efforts to encourage social studies researchers to be theory-oriented in their work be abandoned? What other goals might provide more productive guides for social studies education research? Gergen (1973) has proposed that research in social psychology not aim at prediction and control, but at sensitization, at enlightenment making people more sensitive "to the range of factors" that may influence behavior in different situations and the relative importance of those factors in particular settings at particular times (p 317) Specifically, findings on the stability of behavioral dispositions across time and cultures could be helpful (p 318) These are appropriate goals for social studies education research, as are the similar ones proposed by Cronbach (1975) : To assess local events accurately, to improve short run conditions . ., to develop explanatory concepts, concepts which will help people use their heads .$ (p 126) Those views can be expanded on in the context of social studies education research The discussion above has been centered on scientific theory But, as Larkins and McKinney (1980) have pointed out, there are other conceptions of theory One type particularly pertinent to social studies educators is a combination of "theory as classics" and "theory as critique" (p 12) Larkins and McKinney cite as examples two statements on the social studies curriculum : the "closed areas" position of Hunt and Metcalf and the "jurisprudential" approach of Oliver and Shaver My preference is not to define "theory" to cover such efforts, but to label them "curricular rationales" or even "educational philosophies" But Larkins and McKinney (1980) observe correctly that such rationales, which "combine criticism of prior recommendations and criticism of current practice with recommendations for innovation," usually lack research evidence In the context of Gergen and Cronbach's view of the s The severe cuts in federal funds for social science research proposed by the Reagan administration have brought forth defenses of the field Interestingly, the arguments for the usefulness of social science research put forth by persons such as the immediate pastpresident of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Mosteller, 1981) and the president of the Social Science Research Council (Prewitt, 1981) are phrased in terms similar to the goals proposed by Gergen and Cronbach the availability of concepts and techniques which help us to comprehend society 9


proper role of research into human behavior, it might more appropriately be said that such positions are usually lacking in research evidence to sensitize and help people who would apply them in the schools Research evidence is typically unavailable, for example, as to the conditions that might affect their implementation factors such as community attitudes, teacher characteristics, student attributes, school organization as is validation evidence for the materials and teaching strategies implied or explicitly proposed Research based on such rationales in the past has not, in my opinion, been particularly productive because it has been focused on trying to establish general principles (e .g ., Is socratic teaching more effective than recitation teaching?) rather than seeking to help thoughtful potential users to decide if and how to adapt the rationales to their particular settings It is in this sense, too, rather than in the hopes of "scientific knowledge-building," that the recent advocacy (e .g ., Glass, 1977 ; Jackson, 1978, 1980 ; Pillemer & Light, 1980) of methods of synthesizing research could be helpful to give social studies practitioners compendia of factors to which to be alert in making curricular-instructional decisions The need to use research methods appropriate to this epistemological frame seems evident Techniques that provide valid insights e .g ., case studies will often be more appropriate than the positivist experimental designs which have dominated our research It seems reasonable to entertain the possibility that some such rationale, although not offering the empirically coherent and predictive theories of the physical sciences, might be sufficiently explanatory at a general level to provide conceptual unity to social studies education Along with Metcalf (1963), I have long thought that some of the philosophical work of John Dewey might provide such a foundation 9 Dewey's straightforward notions that thinking is a precursor to learning and that we think about those things that pose problems real to us as individuals (Shaver, 1977) could provide the basis for an agenda of research to inform curriculum reconstruction in social studies education Graduate Education Social studies education is not a field of science The public schools provide a service to the society Within that context, social studies educators are mainly interested in defining and meeting educational needs Advancing empirical knowledge is not, per se, a major interest Social service is 9 To the contrary, Egan (1980) contends that a major reason for the conceptual inadequacies of social studies as well as for its failure to work in practice is the acceptance of ideas promulgated by Dewey Our contrasting views are due, I believe, to differential focusing on Dewey's ideas, to differing interpretations of Dewey, and to differing beliefs about the extent to which social studies curricula really do reflect Dewey's thought 1 0


If Kuhn (1970c, pp 19, 164) is correct, science is not in any event likely to flourish in social service areas because research problems are not selected according to a paradigm and they are pursued regardles of the availability of adequate research tools due to the social urgency of their solution Yet, mistakenly, graduate faculties in social studies education try to maintain a facade of scientism The result is much confusion about the place of research in our profession and, consequently, in graduate training We attempt although our hearts are not really in it to educate graduate students for a field that does not exist, and which I have argued above is not likely to exist Kuhn pointed out that the graduate education of scientists is imbued from beginning to end with the current paradigm of the field including its methodology through textbook assignments, examinations, and laboratory research That situation contrasts sharply with most graduate work in social studies education a smattering of courses in methodology (including inferential statistics), taken in isolation from philosophical-curricular studies, and rarely including any "laboratory" research experience The dissertation with its research requirement is, in my experience, typically viewed as a hurdle on the way to a doctoral degree It too is frequently disconnected from the student's philosophical-curricular studies, as well not being apart of any ongoing stream of research and bearing little relationship to the student's long term professional interests The dissertation is, indeed, for most social studies educators the last piece of research they do, and it makes little functional contribution to their careers or to knowledge about social studies The recognition that our goals in regard to research and theory have not been realistic should be liberating for those responsible for graduate programs in social studies education Some may wish to continue to pursue the hope of scientific theory, a goal supported by Larkins and McKinney (1980, pp 15-16) But many graduate programs which wish to continue to emphasize research may feel freer to refocus their efforts toward goals such as those espoused by Gergen and Cronbach : to develop researchers who can do science-like research (in Kuhn's terms) with methods appropriate to the questions that need to be addressed (in Boulding's terms) to help social studies practitioners make informed decisions Those responsible for graduate programs that are not really intended to develop researchers should, if they accept the arguments presented in this paper, feel more at ease in re-examining the role of research in their graduate programs What, for example, should be the essential nature of the doctoral dissertation in the graduate education of a district supervisor or social studies consultant, a product developer, or a professor of social studies curriculum and methods? Should not the heart of a dissertation be an intellectual experience that leads to growth in professional com1 1


petence? Is it important that the dissertation be an empirical study, with data subjected to inferential statistical analysis? Should not dissertations involving the construction of curricular rationales, the development of validated educational products (see Schutz, 1979) or reviews of literature using new integrative techniques be as acceptable as those that report tests of statistical significance? Affirmative answers to such questions do not imply that intellectual rigor in coursework and in faculty supervision of dissertations will be any less important .'  In fact, alternative types of dissertations tend to be more difficult than the traditional empirical ones because they do not run a predictable course once a proposal is approved by the student's supervisory committee Although a group design, quantitative dissertation will not be relevant to the career of every social studies educator, research-statistics concepts still have some place in social studies education graduate programs (see, e .g ., Shaver, 1980) For example, they are important to the validation methodology of those doing product development studies, to the orientation of those exploring the context of social studies with nonstatistical methods such as ethnography, to the analytic frames of reference of those doing reviews of the research literature They also need to be taught as part of the "general education" of our graduate students, for research design and statistical concepts have so permeated the educational literature that awareness of their meanings and implications is a significant part of being an educated educator Given the differing foci, however, research and statistics courses would no longer be taught as abstract bodies of knowledge with esoteric, if not self-evident, intrinsic importance Conclusion It might be argued that scientific theory has not emerged from research in social studies education because of a lack of systematic, sustained i .e ., programmatic efforts aimed at the accretion of knowledge Nonprogrammatic research efforts may be inevitable in social studies education, as a field of social service rather than of science But the thesis of this paper is that even programmatic research efforts are unlikely to build theory of the sort that has emerged in the physical sciences The very nature of the subject matter thinking, complex humans who live in changing cultural contexts of which research is itself a part militates against the positivist Comtean faith that the objective realities of human social life can be observed and formulated into scientific principles and laws such as scientists verify for the physical or the biological world Research still is important for informing educational decision-makers, but in a manner significantly different from the way in  For an excellent warning about the trap of assuming that non-statistical research requires less rigor, see Rist (1980) 1 2


which research in the physical sciences informs engineering decisionmakers or biological research informs medical decision-makers In the "age of science," it is not surprising that pseudo-scientism has permeated education, including graduate programs in social studies education Trying to be "scientific," often without substantial efforts to understand science or its relevance to the study of human behavior, has resulted in strictures that often unreasonably bind and blind us in our work A realistic view of the potential of social studies education research for scientific theory can, I believe, help us to develop more fruitful perspectives on the role of research in educational decisionmaking Our past research endeavors in social studies education have not been particularly productive of either scientific theory or knowledge to inform and sensitize decision-makers The first does not seem likely How to produce the latter is an important long-term agenda item for social studies education researchers, especially for those of us responsible for graduate programs in social studies education 1 3


References Boulding, Kenneth E Science : Our common heritage Science, 1980, 207, 831-836 Brickell, John L Nominated samples from public schools and statistical bias American Educational Research Journal, 1974, 11, 333-41 Buss, Alan R The emerging field of the sociology of psychological knowledge American Psychologist, 1975, 30, 988-1002 Cameron, D Ewen The experimental method in the study of human behaviour : Central problems In Zdenek Votava, Milan Horvath, and Oldrich Vinar (Eds .), Psychopharmacological Methods New York : Macmillan, 1963 Clifford, Geraldine J A history of the impact of research on teaching In R M W Travers (Ed .), Second handbook of research on teaching Chicago : Rand McNally, 1973 Cronbach, Lee J Beyond the two disciplines of scientific psychology American Psychologist, 1975, 30, 116-127 Dewey, John The sources of a science of education New York : Horace Liveright, 1929 Egan, Kieran John Dewey and the social studies curriculum Theory and Research in Social Education, 1980, 8, 37-55 Gage, N L The yield of research on teaching Phi Delta Kappan, 1978, 60, 229-235 Gale, George Theory of science : An introduction to the history, logic, and philosophy of science New York : McGraw-Hill, Inc ., 1979 Gergen, Kenneth J Social psychology as history Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1973, 26, 309-320 Glass, Gene V Integrating findings : The meta-analysis of research In Lee S Shulman (Ed .), Review of Research in Education, 1977, S, 351-79 Jackson, Gregg B Methods for reviewing and integrating research in the social sciences Washington, D .C : National Science Foundation, May 1978 (NTIS No PB 283 747) Jackson, Gregg B Methods for integrative reviews Review of Educational Research, 1980, 50, 438-60 Kerlinger, Fred N The influence of research on education practice Educational Researcher, 1977, 6(8), 5-12 Kuhn, Thomas S Logic of discovery or psychology of research? In Irme Lakatos and Alan Musgrave (Eds .), Criticism and the growth of knowledge London : Cambridge University Press, 1970 (a) Kuhn, Thomas S Reflections on my critics In Irme Lakatos and Alan Musgrave (Eds .), Criticism and the growth of knowledge London : Cambridge University Press, 1970 (b) Kuhn, Thomas S The structure of scientific revolutions (2nd ed .) Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1970 (c) 1 4


Kuhn, Thomas S Second thoughts on paradigms In Frederick Suppe (Ed .), The structure of scientific theories (2nd ed .) Urbana, IL : University of Illinois Press, 1977 Lakatos, Irme, & Musgrave, Alan (Eds .) Criticism and the growth of knowledge London : Cambridge University Press, 1970 Larkins, A G ., & McKinney, C W Four types of theory : Implications for research in social education Theory and Research in Social Education, 1980, 8(1), 9-17 Masterman, Margaret The nature of a paradigm In Irme Lakatos and Alan Musgrave (Eds .), Criticism and the growth of knowledge London : Cambridge University Press, 1970 Metcalf, Lawrence E Research on teaching the social studies In N L Gage (Ed .), Handbook of research on teaching, 1963, 929-65 Mosteller, Frederick Taking science out of social science Science, 1981, 212, 291 Ornstein, Allan C ., & Levine, Daniel U Teacher behavior research : Overview and outlook Phi Delta Kappan, 1981 (Apr .), 62(8), 592-96 Perrow, Charles Disintegrating social sciences New York University Education Quarterly, 1981, 12(2), 2-9 Pillemer, David B ., & Light, Richard J Synthesizing outcomes : How to use research evidence from many studies Harvard Educational Review, 1980, 50(2), 176-195 Prewitt, Kenneth Usefulness of the social sciences Science, 1981, 211, 659 Rist, Ray C Blitzkrieg ethnography : On the transformation of a method into a movement Educational Researcher, 1980, 9(2), 8-10 Schlenker, Barry R social psychology and science Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1974, 29(1), 1-15 Schutz, Richard E Learning about the costs and instruction about the benefits of research and development in education Educational Researcher, 1979, 8(4), 3-7 Shaver, James P Needed : A Deweyean rationale for social studies The High School Journal, 1977, 60, 345-52 Shaver, James P The productivity of educational research and the applied-basic research distinction Educational Researcher, 1979, 8(1), 3-9 (a) Shaver, James P The usefulness of educational research in curricular/instructional decision-making in social studies Theory and Research in Social Education, 1979, 7(3), 21-46 (b) Shaver, James P Readdressing the role of statistical tests of significance Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Boston, April 7, 1980 Shaver, James P ., & Larkins, A Guy Research on teaching social studies In R M W Travers (Ed .), Second handbook of research on teaching, Chicago : Rand McNally, 1973 1 5


Shaver, James P ., & Norton, Richard S Populations, samples, randomness, and replication in two social studies journals Theory and Research in Social Education, 1980, 8(2), 1-10 (a) Shaver, James P ., & Norton, Richard S Randomness and replication in ten years of the American Educational Research Journal Educational Researcher, 1980, 9(1), 9-15 (b) Snow, Richard E Individual differences and instructional theory Educational Researcher, 1977, 6(1), 11-15 Suppe, Frederick The search for philosophic understandings of scientific theories In Frederick Suppe (Ed .), The structure of scientific theories (2nd ed .) Urbana, IL : University of Illinois Press, 1977 Suppes, Patrick The place of theory of educational research Educational Researcher, 1974, 3(6), 3-10 Wade, Nicholas Thomas S Kuhn : Revolutionary theorist of science Science, 1977, 197, 143-45 Wiley, Karen B The status of pre-college science, mathematics, and social science education : 1955-1975 Volume III : Social science education Report to the National Science Foundation Washington, D .C : U .S Government Printing Office, 1977 1 6


Theory and Research in Social Education Volume 9 Number 4, Winter 1982, pp 17-55 €by The College and University Faculty Assembly of The National Council for the Social Studies Culture and Rationality in Frankfurt School Thought : Ideological Foundations for a Theory of Social Education Henry A Giroux Boston University Introduction Until recently, mainstream interpretations of the history, philosophy, and sociology of American education have been relatively immune from the effects of social and political criticism That such interpretations were the object of heated criticism by educational reformers has been well documented (Feinberg, 1975 and Bowles and Gintis, 1976) But the existence of such criticism appears less important than the marginal role it has played historically in shaping the image and function of American education It is against the muting of opposing perspectives on the nature of American schooling that the role of school as a legitimating agency becomes clear That is, the function of schooling historically appears to have been viewed less in terms of what schools actually do and more in terms of ideologies about what they should or could be doing It is within this contradiction between the reality and the promise of American schooling that educational criticism has been both sustained and severely muted The historical circumstances surrounding the muting of educational criticisms are relatively straightforward In the transition period from entrepreneurial to advanced capitalism, public schooling developed as the 11 wish to thank Stanley Aronowitz, Paul Breines, Roger Simon, Cleo Cherryholmes, Len Barton, Walter Feinberg and Philip Wexler for their helpful contributions and advice Without their comments this manuscript would have been finished much earlier than it was Needless to say, I bear full responsibility for the contents of the paper 1 7


concrete counterpart to and successor of the mythic legacy of the 19th century Western frontier That is, as the Western frontier lost its innocence to the logic of capitalist industrialization and expansionism, the public school became the new birthplace for unfettered social and economic opportunities As Bowles and Gintis (1976) point out, state supported education provided the new vision, and "a new ideology became the order of the day The folklore of capitalism was revitalized, education became the new frontier" (p 3) The assumptions that fueled this mythic vision of schooling have exercised a powerful influence on traditional and liberal views of education The central assumption was that schools were neutral institutions that provided equal opportunities for all students to pursue social and economic mobility As a result of this assumption, individual initiative and intellectual labor became the starting points and most important categories by which to analyze the success or failure of different groups of students who made the sojourn through American schools Similarly, social stability and moral order, rather than issues such as domination and emancipation, became the central concerns for analyzing the relationship between schools and the wider society ; and finally, the mythic vision of schooling was reinforced by the assumption that public education was the most important vehicle to promote economic growth and to ensure economic equality (Feinberg, 1975) Within the last decade, the view of American education as the "new frontier" has come under increasing attack by a chorus of educational critics Changing material and ideological conditions have provided an impetus for such criticism while simultaneously helping to sustain it For example, dissatisfaction with the role and meaning of American education erupted strongly amidst the political events of the 1960s and early 1970s In addition, the emerging objective contradictions of the last decade contributed to a crisis ideologically That is, beliefs and values used to legitimate the dominant society began to lose their sustaining power, particularly in those social science disciplines that played a significant role buttressing what might be called American hegemonic ideology Thus, a number of scholars turned away from functionalist and empiricist models of social inquiry and attempted to reconstruct alternative views of education by drawing theoretical sustenance from diverse continental philosophies such as phenomenology, existentialism, and various forms of neo-Marxist thought (Pinar, 1974, 1975 ; Macdonald and Zaret, 1975 ; and Apple et al ., 1974) Against the landscape of developing crises in American education, which include severe financial cutbacks, shrinking job markets, and massive teacher layoffs, educational critics found new opportunities to call into question the political and economic nature of schooling The result has been quite significant For example, a revisionist educational history emerged that provided an indictment suggesting that schools functioned to sustain rather than prevent class inequality (Katz, 1968 ; 1 8


Feinberg, 1975 ; Gree, 1972 ; Karier, 1975 ; and Bowles and Gintis, 1976) In addition, various theories of social education emerged that exposed the ideological interests underlying the selection, organization and distribution of school knowledge (Apple, 1979 and Popkewitz, 1978) Furthermore, the foundation for a more critical theory of social education was established through reflexive studies of classroom relationships and other aspects of the hidden curriculum of schooling (Apple and King, 1977 and Giroux and Penna, 1979) 2 More recently, educational criticism has moved away from its initial focus on understanding the political and normative nature of American schooling, and has attempted to develop a more specific theoretical reconstruction Consequently, the early diversity that often clouded ideological differences among various educational critics in social education has now given way to some rather clear-cut theoretical positions regarding what constitutes a critical science of social education (Pinar, 1981 and Giroux, 1981a, 1981b) While the transition from critique to theoretical reconstruction is both welcome and imperative, it has not been a very successful one to date Unable to discard the theoretical baggage of either a limiting structuralism or an equally limiting idealism, theories of social education appear to be caught between deterministic structural studies of American education or interactionist studies that are bogged down in a celebration of psychologism Needless to say there have been some sophisticated attempts to move out of these polarities, but such work occupies an unjustifiably marginal place in current educational scholarship 3 This essay attempts to contribute to the search for a theoretical foundation upon which to develop a critical theory of social education Within the parameters of this task, the notion of critical theory has a two-fold 2 The view of social education expressed and used in this paper is quite different from the way it appears in traditional literature on the subject That is, traditionally social education takes as its primary concerns issues of citizenship education, moral education, global education, etc with the express purpose of simplifying the social sciences for instructional use The classic example of this view can be found in Wesley and Wronski (1973) : "The social studies are designed primarily for instructional purposes They include those substantive portions of human behavior as well as those procedural modes of inquiry that have been selected and adopted for use in schools and other instructional situations" (p 5) In my view, this perspective fails because of its atheoretical and apolitical stance toward the role that schools play as political but relatively autonomous institutions that serve in a somewhat contradictory fashion as agencies of social and cultural reproduction Social education, as it is used in this paper, points to the macroand micro-issues that tie schools to the larger social order and affect their role as ideological institutions involved in the reproduction of class and gender (and racial) based relations See Giroux (1981) a Some of the exceptional work being done in the United States in educational theory would include : Apple (1979) ; Cherryholmes (1980) ; Anyon (1980) ; Feinberg (1980) ; Green (1978) ; Pinar (1981) ; Popkewitz (1980) ; Simon and Dippo (1980) 1 9


meaning On the one hand, critical theory refers to the legacy of theoretical work developed by certain members of what can be loosely described as "the Frankfurt School ." 4 Specifically, I argue in this essay that the works of Horkheimer, Marcuse, and Adorno provide a number of important theoretical insights for developing a critical foundation for a theory of social education 5 On the other hand, the concept of critical theory refers to the nature of self-conscious critique and to the need to develop a discourse of social transformation and emancipation that does not cling dogmatically to its own doctrinal assumptions In other words, critical theory refers to both a "school of thought" and process of critique It points to a body of thought that is, in my view, invaluable for educational theorists ; it also exemplifies a body of work that both demonstrates and simultaneously calls for the necessity of ongoing critique, one in which the claims of any theory must be confronted with the distinction between the world it examines and portrays, and the world as it actually exists 6 The Frankfurt School took as one of its central values a commitment to penetrate the work of reified appearances and to expose the underlying social relationships they often conceal In other words, penetrating reified appearances meant exposing through critical analysis social relationships that took on the status of things or objects For instance, by examining notions such as money, consumption, distribution, and production it becomes clear that the latter do not represent objective "facts" or things but historically contingent contexts mediated by relationships of domination and subordination As such, the Frankfurt School not only broke with forms of rationality that wedded science and technology into new forms of domination, it also rejected all forms of rationality that subordinated human consciousness and action to the imperatives of universal laws Whether it be the legacy of the positivist intellectual thought € The term "Frankfurt School" should not suggest that the numerous individuals that either belonged to or were affiliated with the Institute for Social Research shared "a body of learnable statements and doctrines with which one could live comfortably or uneasily" (Lowenthal, 1979, p 391) Rather, the term provides a point of focus but as Lowenthal indicates should not be read so as to hide the differences of opinion as well as the different research concerns that characterized the Institute's members This issue is explored in detail in Jay (1973) and Held (1981) 5 An extensive bibliography of both primary and secondary materials on the Frankfurt School can be found in Arato and Gebhardt (1978) It is also worth noting that Held (1981) provides a worthwhile introduction to the developing and changing ideas of the Frankfurt School Moreover, Arato and Gebhardt (1978) provide both primary sources previously unpublished in English as well as a number of scholarly and informative commentaries on the Frankfurt School Held's (1981) bibliography provides original dates of publication 6 % One purpose of this paper is to stress the importance of original critical theory, particularly the early work of Adorno and Horkheimer (1972) as well as the wide range of work written by Marcuse This seems to me an important task especially since so much of the work on the Frankfurt School in social education focuses almost exclusively on the writings of Jurgen Habermas 2 0


of Victorian Europe or the theoretical edifice developed by Engels, Kautsky, Stalin and other heirs of Marxism, the Frankfurt School argued against the Tatter's suppression of "subjectivity, consciousness, and culture in history" (Breines, 1979-80, p 113), and in doing so articulated a notion of negativity in opposition to all theories that celebrated social harmony and left unproblematic the basic assumptions of the wider society In more specific terms, the Frankfurt School stressed the importance of critical thinking by arguing that the latter is a constitutive feature of the struggle for both self-emancipation and social change Moreover, its members argued that it was in the contradictions of society that one could begin to develop forms of social inquiry that analyzed the distinction between what is from what should be ; and finally, they strongly supported the assumption that the basis for thought and action should be grounded, as Marcuse argued just before his death, "in compassion, [and] in our sense of the sufferings of others" (Habermas, 1980, p 12) In general terms, the Frankfurt School provides a number of valuable insights for studying the relationship between theory and society In doing so, they developed a dialectical framework by which to understand the mediations that link the institutions and activities of everyday life with the logic and commanding forces that shape the larger social totality The characteristic nature of the form of social inquiry that emerged from such a framework was articulated by Horkheimer (1972) when he suggested that other members of the Institute for Social Research explore the question of : the interconnection between the economic life of society, the psychic development of the individual and transformations in the realm of culture . including not only the so called spiritual contents of science, art and religion, but also law, ethics, fashion, public opinion, sport, amusement, life style, etc (p 43) The issues raised by Horkheimer (1972) have not lost their importance with time, and they still represent both a critique of and challenge to many of the theoretical currents that presently characterize theories of social education The necessity for theoretical renewal in the educational field, coupled with the massive number of primary and secondary sources that have been translated or published recently in English, provide the opportunity for American and English speaking pedagogues to begin to appropriate the discourse and ideas of the Frankfurt School Needless to say, such a task will not be easily accomplished since both the complexity of the language used by members of the School and the diversity of the positions and themes they pursued demand a selective and critical reading of their works Yet the critique of culture, instrumental rationality, authoritarianism, and ideology that they pursued in an interdisciplinary context generated categories, relationships and forms of social inquiry that constitute a vital source of knowledge for developing a critical theo2 1


ry of social education Since it will be impossible within the scope of this essay to analyze the diversity of themes examined by the Frankfurt School, I will limit my analysis to their treatment of rationality, theory, culture and depth psychology History and Background The Institute for Social Research (The Institut Fur Sozialforschung) was officially created in Frankfurt, Germany, in February 1923 and was the original home of the Frankfurt School Established by a wealthy grain merchant named Felix Weil, the Institute eventually came under the directorship of Max Horkheimer in 1930 Under Horkheimer's directorship most of the members who later became famous joined the Institute These included Erich Fromm, Herbert Marcuse, and Theodor Adorno As Martin Jay (1973) points out in his now famous history of the Frankfurt School, If it can be said that in the early years of its history the Institut concerned itself primarily with an analysis of bourgeois society's socio-economic substructure, in the years after 1930 its prime interests lay in its cultural superstructure (p 21) The changing of the Institute's theoretical focus was soon followed by a geographical shift in its location Threatened by the Nazis because of the avowedly Marxist orientation of the Institute's work and because most of its members were Jews, the Institute was forced to relocate for a short time in Geneva in 1933 It was moved to New York City in 1934, where it was housed in one of Columbia University's buildings Emigration to New York was followed by a stay in Los Angeles, California, in 1941 ; and, by 1953, the Institute was reestablished in Frankfurt, Germany .' The strengths and weaknesses of the Frankfurt School project become intelligible only if seen as part of the social and historical context in which it developed In essence, the questions it pursued, along with the forms of social inquiry it supported, represent both a particular moment in the development of Western Marxism as well as a critique of it Reacting to the rise of Fascism and Naziism on the one hand, and the failure of orthodox Marxism on the other, the Frankfurt School had to refashion and rethink the meaning of domination and emancipation The rise of Stalinism, the failure of the European or Western working class to contest capitalist hegemony in a revolutionary manner, and the power of capitalism to reconstitute and reinforce its economic and ideological control forced the Frankfurt School to reject the orthodox reading of Marx and Engels, particularly as it had developed through the conventional wisdom of the Second and Third Internationals It is particularly in the 6 It is important to note that Erich Fromm and Herbert Marcuse remained in the United States In fact, this geographic separation, in part, may have contributed to the diverging perspectives that separated Marcuse from Adorno and Horkheimer from 1955 onwards 2 2


rejection of certain doctrinal Marxist assumptions, developed under the historical shadow of totalitarianism and the rise of the consumer society in the West that Horkheimer ; Adorno, and Marcuse attempted to construct a more sufficient basis for social theory and political action Certainly such a basis was not to be found in standard Marxist assumptions such as : a) the notion of historical inevitability, b) the primacy of the mode of production in the shaping of history, and c) the notion that class struggle as well as the mechanisms of domination take place primarily within the confines of the labor process For the Frankfurt School, orthodox Marxism assumed too much while simultaneously ignoring the benefits of self-criticism It had failed to develop a theory of consciousness and by doing so expelled the human subject from its own theoretical calculus Thus, it is not surprising that the focus of the Frankfurt School's research downplayed the area of political economy and focused instead of the issue how subjectivity was constituted, as well as on the issue of how the spheres of culture and everyday life represented a new terrain of domination It is against this historical and theoretical landscape that we can begin to abstract categories and modes of analysis that speak to the nature of schooling as it presently exists, and the possibilities it contains for developing into a force for social change Rationality, Theory, and the Critique of Instrumental Reason Fundamental to an understanding of the Frankfurt School's view of theory and their critique of instrumental reason is their analysis of the heritage of Enlightenment rationality Echoing Nietzsche's (1957) warning about humanity's unbounded faith in reason, Adorno and Horkheimer (1972) voiced a trenchant critique of modernity's unswerving faith in the promise of Enlightenment rationality to rescue the world from the chains of superstition, ignorance, and suffering The problematic nature of suchh a promise marks the opening lines of Dialectic of Enlightenment (1972) : In the most general sense of progressive thought the Enlightenment has always aimed at liberating men from fear and establishing their sovereignty Yet the fully enlightened earth radiates disaster triumphant (p 3) The faith in scientific rationality and the principles of practical judgment did not constitute a legacy that developed exclusively in the 17th and 18th centuries when people of reason united on a vast intellectual front in order to master the world through an appeal to the claims of reasoned thought According to the Frankfurt School, the legacy of scientific rationality represented one of the central themes of Western thought and extended as far back as Plato (Horkheimer, 1974 pp 6-7) Habermas (1973), a later member of the Frankfurt School, argues that the progressive notion of reason reaches its highest point and most complex expression in the work of Karl Marx, after which it is reduced from 2 3


an all encompassing concept of rationality to a particularized instrument in the service of industrialized society According to Habermas (1973), On the level of the historical self reflection of a science with critical intent, Marx for the last time identifies reason with a commitment to rationality in its thrust against dogmatism In the second half of the 19th century, during the course of the reduction of science to a productive force in industrial society, positivism, historicism, and pragmatism, each in turn, isolate one part of this all encompassing concept of rationality The hitherto undisputed attempts of the great theories, to reflect on the complex of life as a whole is henceforth itself discredited as dogma . the spontaneity of hope, the art of taking a position, the experience of relevance or indifference, and above all, the response to suffering and oppression, the desire for adult autonomy, the will to emancipation, and the happiness of discovering one's identify-all these are dismissed for all time from the obligating interest of reason (pp 262-263) Marx may have employed reason in the name of critique and emancipation, but it was still a notion of reason that was limited to an overemphasis on the labor process and the exchange rationality that was both its driving force and ultimate mystification In contrast to Marx, Adorno, Horkheimer, and Marcuse believed that "the fateful process of rationalization" (Wellmer, 1974, p 133) had penetrated all aspects of everyday life, whether it be the mass media, the school or the workplace The crucial point here is that no social sphere was free from the encroachments of a form of reason in which "all theoretical means of transcending reality became metaphysical nonsense" (Horkheimer, 1974, p 82) In the Frankfurt School's view, reason has not been stripped permanently of its positive dimensions Marcuse, for instance, believed that reason contained a critical element and was still capable of reconstituting history or, as he put it, "reason represents the highest potentiality of man and existence ; the two belong together ;" (Marcuse, 1968, p 136) But if reason was to preserve its promise of creating a more just society, it would have to demonstrate its power of critique and negativity According to Adorno (1973), the crisis of reason takes place as society becomes more rationalized because under such historical circumstances it loses its critical faculty in the quest for social harmony, and as such, becomes an instrument of the existing society As a result, reason as insight and critique turns into its opposite, i .e ., irrationality For the Frankfurt School the crisis in reason is linked to the crisis in science and the more general crisis of society Horkheimer (1972) argued that the starting point for understanding "the crisis of science depends on a correct theory of the present social situation" (p 9) In essence, this speaks to two crucial aspects of Frankfurt School thought First, it argues that the only solution to the present crisis lies in developing a more fully self-conscious notion of reason, one that embraces both the 2 4


notion of critique and the element of human will and transformative action Second, it means entrusting to theory the task of rescuing reason from the logic of technocratic rationality or positivism It was the Frankfurt School's view that positivism had emerged as the final ideological expression of the Enlightenment The victory of positivism represented not the high point but the low point of Enlightenment thought Rather than being the agent of reason, it became its enemy and emerged in the 20th century as a new form of social administration and domination Friedman (1981) sums up the essence of this position : To the Frankfurt School, philosophical and practical positivism constituted the end point of the Enlightenment The social function of the ideology of Positivism was to deny the critical faculty of reason by allowing it only the ground of utter facility to operate upon By so doing, they denied reason a critical moment, reason, under the rule of Positivism, stands in awe of the fact Its function is simply to characterize the fact Its task ends when it has affirmed and explicated the fact . . Under the rule of positivism, reason inevitably stops short of critique (p 118) It is in its critique of positivistic thought that the Frankfurt School makes clear the specific mechanisms of ideological control that permeate the consciousness and practices of advanced capitalistic societies It is also in its critique of positivism that it develops a notion of theory that has major implications for educational critics But the route to understanding the latter necessitates that one first analyze the Frankfurt School's critique of positivism, particularly since the logic of positivist thought (though in varied forms) represents the major theoretical impetus that currently shapes educational theory and practice The Frankfurt School defined positivism in the broad sense as an amalgam of diverse traditions that included the work of Saint-Simon and Comte, the logical positivism of the Vienna Circle, the early Wittgenstein, and the more recent forms of logical empiricism and pragmatism that dominate the social sciences in the West While the history of each of these traditions is complex and cluttered with detours and qualifications, each of them has supported the goal of developing forms of social inquiry patterned after the natural sciences and based on the methodological tenets of sense observation and quantification Marcuse (1964) provides both a general definition of the notion of positivism as well as a starting point for some of the reservations the Frankfurt School expressed regarding its most basic assumptions : Since its first usage, probably in the school of Saint-Simon, the term "positivism" has encompassed (1) the validation of cognitive thought by experience of facts ; (2) the orientation of cognitive thought to the physical science as a model of certainty and exactness ; (3) the belief that progress in knowledge depends on this orientation Consequently, positivism is a struggle against all meta2 5


physics, transcendentalisms, and idealisms as obscurantist and regressive modes of thought To the degree to which the given reality is scientifically comprehended and transformed, to the degree to which society becomes industrial and technological, positivism finds in the society the medium for the realization (and validation) of its concepts harmony between theory and practice, truth and facts Philosophic thought turns into affirmative thought ; the philosophic critique criticizes within the societal framework and stigmatizes non-positive notions as mere speculation, dreams or fantasies (p 172) Positivism, according to Horkheimer (1972), presented a view of knowledge and science that stripped both of their critical possibilities Knowledge was reduced to the exclusive province of science, and science itself was subsumed within a methodology that limited "scientific activity to the description, classification, and generalization of phenomena, with no care to distinguish the unimportant from the essential" (p 5) Accompanying this view is the notion that knowledge derives from sense experience and that the ideal it pursues takes place "in the form of a mathematically formulated universe deducible from the smallest possible number of axioms, a system which assures the calculation of the probable occurrence of all events" (Horkheimer, 1972, p 138) For the Frankfurt School, positivism did not represent an indictment of science, instead it echoed Nietzche's (1966) insight that "it is not the victory of science that is the distinguishing mark of our nineteenth century, but the victory of the scientific method over science" (p 814) Science, in this perspective, was separated from the question of ends and ethics, the latter being rendered insignificant because they defied "explication in terms of mathematical structures" (Marcuse, 1964, p 147) According to the Frankfurt School, the suppression of ethics in positivist rationality precludes the possibility for self critique, or more specifically, the questioning of its own normative structure Facts become separated from values, objectivity undermines critique, and the notion that essence and appearance may not coincide is lost in the positivist view of the world The latter point becomes particularly clear in the Vienna Circle pronouncement : "The view that thought is a means of knowing more about the world than may be directly observed . seems to use entirely mysterious" (Hahn, 1933, p 9) For Adorno, the idea of value freedom was perfectly suited to a perspective that was to insist on a universal form of knowledge while it simultaneously refused to inquire into its own socio-ideological development and function in society According to Frankfurt School, the outcome of positivist rationality and its technocratic view of science represented a threat to the notion of subjectivity and critical thinking By functioning within an operational context free from ethical commitments, positivism wedded itself to the immediate and "celebrated" the world of "facts ." The question of essence, 2 6


or the difference between the world as it, is and that which it could be, is reduced to the merely methodological task of collecting and classifying that which is, the world of facts In this schema, "knowledge relates solely to what is and to its recurrence" (Horkheimer, 1972, p 208) Questions concerning the genesis, development and normative nature of the conceptual systems that select, organize, and define the facts appear to be outside of the concern of positivist rationality Since it recognizes no factors behind the "fact," positivism freezes both human beings and history In the case of the latter, the issue of historical development is left aside since the historical dimension contains truths that cannot be assigned "to a special fact-gathering branch of science" (Adorn, quoted in Gross, 1979, p 340) Of course, positivism is not impervious to history because it ignores it, i .e ., the relationship between history and understanding On the contrary, its key notions regarding objectivity, theory, and values as well as its modes of inquiry are both a consequence and a force in the shaping of history In other words, positivism may ignore history but it cannot escape it What is important to stress is that fundamental categories of socio-historical development are at odds with the positivist emphasis on the immediate, or, more specifically, that which can be expressed, measured, and calculated in precise mathematical formulas Russell Jacoby (1980) points concisely to this issue in his claim that "the natural reality and natural sciences do not know the fundamental historical categories : consciousness and self consciousness, subjectivity and objectivity, appearance and essence" (p 30) By not reflecting on its paradigmatic premises positivist thought ignores the value of historical consciousness and consequently endangers the nature of critical thinking itself That is, inherent in the very structure of positivist thought, with its emphasis on objectivity and its lack of theoretical grounding regarding the setting of tasks (Horkheimer 1972), are a number of assumptions that appear to preclude its ability to judge the complicated interactions of power, knowledge and values and to reflect critically on the genesis and nature of its own ideological presuppositions Moreover, situated within a number of false dualisms (facts vs values, scientific knowledge vs norms, and description vs prescription) positivism dissolves the tension between potentiality and actuality in all spheres of social existence Thus, under the guise of neutrality, scientific knowledge and all theory become rational on the grounds of whether they are efficient, economic or correct In this case a notion of methodological correctness subsumes and devalues the complex philosophical concept of truth As Marcuse points out, "the fact that a judgment can be correct and nevertheless without truth has been the crux of formal logic from time immemorial" (quoted in Arato and Gebhardt, 1978, p 394) For instance, an empirical study that concludes that native workers in a colonized country work at a slower rate than imported workers who perform the same job may provide an answer that is correct, but such an 2 7


answer tells us little about the notion of domination or the resistance of workers under its sway That the native workers may slow down their rate as an act of resistance is not considered here Thus, the notions of intentionality and historical context get dissolved within the confines of a limiting quantifying methodology For Adorno, Marcuse, and Horkheimer, the fetishism of facts and the belief in value neutrality represented more than an epistemological error ; more importantly, such a stance served as a form of ideological hegemony that infused positivist rationality with a political conservatism that make it an ideological prop of the status quo The latter should not suggest an intentional support for the status quo on the part of the individuals who work within a positivist rationality Instead, it suggests a particular relationship to the status quo which in some situations is a consciously political one, while in others it is not In other words, in the latter stance the relationship to the status quo is a conservative one, but it is not self-consciously recognized by those who help to reproduce it The Frankfurt School's Notion of Theory According to the Frankfurt School any understanding about the nature of theory had to begin with a grasp of the relationships that exist in society between the particular and the whole, the specific and the universal This position appears in direct contradiction to the empiricist claim that theory is primarily a matter of classifying and arranging facts In rejecting the absolutizing of facts, the Frankfurt School argued that in the relation between theory and the wider society mediations exist that function to give meaning not only to the constitutive nature of a fact but also to the very nature and substance of theoretical discourse As Horkheimer (1972) writes : The facts of science and science itself are but segments of the life process of society, and in order to understand the significance of facts or of science, generally one must possess the key to the historical situation, the right social theory (p 159) This speaks to another constitutive element of critical theory If theory is to move beyond the positivist legacy of neutrality, it must develop the capacity of a meta-theory That is, it must acknowledge the normative interests it represents and be able to reflect critically on both the historical development or genesis of such interests and the limitations they may present within certain historical and social contexts In other words, "methodological correctness" does not provide a guarantee of truth nor does it raise the fundamental question of why a theory functions in a given way under specific historical conditions to serve some interests and not others Thus, a notion of self critique is essential to a critical theory A third constitutive element for a critical theory takes its cue from Nietzche's dictum that "a great truth wants to be criticized not idolized" (Quoted in Arato and Gebhardt, 1978, p 383) The Frankfurt School believed that the critical spirit of theory should be represented in its un2 8


masking function The driving force of such a function was to be found in the Frankfurt School's notions of immanent criticism and dialectical thought Immanent critique is the assertion of difference, the refusal to collapse appearance and essence, i .e ., the willingness to analyze the reality of the social object against its possibilities As Adorno et al (1976) wrote : Theory . must transform the concepts which it brings, as it were, from outside into those which the object has of itself, into what the object, left to itself, seeks to be, and confront it with what it is It must dissolve the rigidity of the temporally and spatially fired object into a field of tension of the possible and the real : each one in order to exist, is dependent upon the other In other words, theory is indisputably critical (p 69) Dialectical thought, on the other hand, speaks to both critique and theoretical reconstruction (Giroux, 1980) As a mode of critique it uncovers values that are often negated by the social object under analysis The notion of dialectics is critical because it reveals "the insufficiencies and imperfections of `finished' systems of thought . it reveals incompleteness where completeness is claimed It embraces that which is in terms of that which is not, and that which is real in terms of potentialities not yet realized" (Held, 1980, p 177) As a mode of theoretical reconstruction, dialectical thought points to historical analysis in the critique of conformist logic, and traces out the "inner history" of the latter's categories and the way in which they are mediated within a specific historical context By looking at the social and political constellations stored in the categories in any theory, Adorno (1973) believed that their history could be traced and thus their existing limitations revealed As such, dialectical thought reveals the power of human activity and human knowledge as both a product and force in the shaping of social reality, but does so not simply to proclaim that humans give meaning to the world, a position that has always plagued the sociology of knowledge (Adorno, 1967) Instead, as a form of critique, dialectical thought argues that there is a link between knowledge, power, and domination Thus it is acknowledged that some knowledge is false, and that the ultimate purpose of critique should be critical thinking in the interest of social change For instance, as I mentioned earlier, one can exercise critical thought and not fall into the ideological trap of relativism in which the notion of critique is negated by the assumption that all ideas should be given equal weight Marcuse (1960) points to the connection between thought and action in dialectical thought : Dialectical thought starts with the experience that the world is unfree ; that is to say, man and nature exist in conditions of alienation, exist as `other than they are .' Any mode of thought which excludes this contradiction from its logic is faulty logic Thought `corresponds' to reality only as it transforms reality by comprehending 2 9


its contradictory structure Here the principle of dialectic drives thought beyond the limits of philosophy For to comprehend reality means to comprehend what things really are, and this in turn means rejecting their mere factuality Rejection is the process of thought as well as of action . . Dialectical thought thus becomes negative in itself Its function is to break down the self-assurance and selfcontentment of common sense, to undermine the sinister confidence in the power and language of facts, to demonstrate that unfreedom is so much at the core of things that the development of their internal contradictions leads necessarily to qualitative change : the explosion and catastrophe of the established state of affairs (p ix) According to the Frankfurt School all thought and theory are tied to a specific interest in the development of a society without injustice Theory, in this case, becomes a transformative activity that views itself as explicitly political and commits itself to the projection of a future that is as yet unfilfulled Thus, critical theory contains a transcendent element in which critical thought becomes the precondition for human freedom Rather than proclaiming a positivist notion of neutrality, critical theory openly takes sides in the interest of struggling for a better world In one of his most famous early essays comparing traditional and critical theory, Horkheimer (1972) spelled out the essential value of theory as a political endeavor : It is not just a research hypothesis which shows its value in the ongoing business of men ; it is an essential element in the historical effort to create a world which satisfies the needs and powers of men However extensive the interaction between the critical theory and the special sciences whose progress the theory must respect and on which it has for decades exercised a liberating and stimulating influence, the theory never aims simply at an increase of knowledge as such Its goal is man's emancipation from slavery (p 245) Finally, there is the question of the relationship between critical theory and empirical studies In the ongoing debate over theory and empirical work, the same old dualisms appear, though in recycled forms, in which one presupposes the exclusion of the other .$ One manifestation of this debate is the criticism that the Frankfurt School rejected against many educational critics who have drawn upon the work of the Frankfurt School .9 Both sets of criticisms appear to have missed the point Certainly, it is true that for the Frankfurt School the issue of empirical work was a problematic one, but what was called into question was its universalization at the expense of a more comprehensive notion of ration8 See Arato and Gebhardt (1979), "A Critique of Methodology" for an excellent analysis of this issue, especially pages 371-406 9 See, for instance, the debate between Tanner and Tanner (1979) and Pinar (1980) over this issue 3 0


ality In writing about his experience as an American scholar, Adorno (1969) spelled out a view of empirical studies that was representative of the Frankfurt School in general : My own position in the controversy between empirical and theoretical sociology . I may sum up by saying that empirical investigations are not only legitimate but essential, even in the realm of cultural phenomena But one must not confer autonomy upon them or regard them as a universal key Above all they must terminate in theoretical knowledge Theory is no mere vehicle that becomes superfluous as soon as data are in hand (p 353) By introducing the primacy of theoretical knowledge in the realm of empirical investigations, the Frankfurt School also wanted to highlight the limits of the positivist notion of experience, where research had to confine itself to controlled physical experiences that would be conducted by any researcher Under such conditions, the research experience is limited to simple observation As such, generalizable and abstract methodology follows rules that preclude any understanding of the forces that shape both the object of analysis as well as the subject conducting the research In contrast, a dialectical notion of society and theory would argue that observation cannot take the place of critical reflection and understanding That is, one begins not with an observation but with a theoretical framework that situates the observation in rules and conventions that give it meaning while simultaneously acknowledge the limitations of such a perspective or framework A further qualification must be made here The Frankfurt School's position on the relation between theory and empirical studies helps to illuminate its view of theory and practice Once again, critical theory insists that theory and practice are interrelated, but it cautions about calling for a specious unity As Adorno (1973) points out, "the call for the unity of theory and practice has irresistibly degraded theory to the servants's role, removing the very traits it should have brought to that unity The visa stamp of practice which we demand of all theory became a censor's place Yet whereas theory succumbed in the vaunted mixture practice became nonconceptual, a piece of the politics it was supposed to lead out of ; it became the prey of power" (p 143) Theory, in this case, should have as its goal emancipatory practice, but at the same time it requires a certain distance from such practice Theory and practice represent a particular alliance, not a unity in which one dissolves into the other The nature of such an alliance might be better understood by illuminating the drawbacks inherent in the traditional anti-theoretical stance in American education in which it is argued that concrete experience is the great t 1 0 Experience, whether on the part of the researcher or others, contains in itself no guarantees that it will generate the insights necessary to make 10 For an example of the issues involved in this debate, see my response to Linda McNeil (1981) in Giroux (1981d) 3 1


it transparent to itself In other words, while it is indisputable that experience may provide us with knowledge, it is also indisputable that knowledge may distort rather than illuminate the nature of social reality The point here is that the value of any experience "will depend not on the experience of the subject but on the struggles around the way that experience is interpreted and defined" (Bennet, 1980, p 126) Moreover, theory cannot be reduced to the mistress of experience, empowered to provide recipes for pedagogical practice Its real value lies in its ability to establish the possibilities for reflexive thought and practice on the part of those who use it, and in the case of teachers, it becomes invaluable as an instrument of critique and understanding As a mode of critique and analysis, theory functions as a set of tools inextricably affected by the context in which it is brought to bear, but it is never reducible to that context It has its own distance and purpose, its own element of practice The crucial element in both its production and use is not the structure at which it is aimed, but the human agents who use it to give meaning to their lives Conclusion In conclusion, Adorno, Horkheimer and Marcuse provided forms of historical and sociological analyses that pointed to the premise as well as the limitations of the existing dominant rationality as it developed in the 20th century Such an analysis took as a starting point the conviction that for self conscious human beings to act collectively against the modes of technocratic rationality that permeated the work place and other socio-cultural spheres, their behavior would have to be preceded and mediated by a mode of critical analysis In other words, the precondition for such action was a form of critical theory But it is important to stress that in linking critical theory to the goals of social and political emancipation, the Frankfurt School redefined the very notion of rationality Rationality was no longer merely the exercise of critical thought, as had been its earlier Enlightenment counterpart Instead, rationality now became the nexus of thought and action in the interest of the liberation of the community or society as a whole As a higher rationality, it contained a transcendent project in which individual freedom merged with social freedom Marcuse (1964) articulated the nature of such a rationality in his claim that : (a) it offers the prospect of preserving and improving the productive achievements of civilization ; (b) it defines the established totality in its very structure, basic tendencies, and relations ; (c) its realization offers a greater chance for the pacification of existence, within the framework of institutions which offer a greater chance for the free development of human needs and faculties (p 220) 3 2


The Frankfurt School's Analysis of Culture Central to the Frankfurt School's critique of positivist rationality was its analysis of culture Rejecting the definition and role of culture found in both traditional sociological accounts and orthodox Marxist theory, Adorno and Horkheimer (1972), in particular, developed a view of culture that assigned it a key place in the development of historical experience and everyday life On the other hand, the Frankfurt School rejected the mainstream sociological notion that culture existed in an autonomous fashion unrelated to the political and economic life processes of society In their view, such a perspective neutralized culture and, in doing so, abstracted it from the historical and societal context that gave it meaning For Adorno (1967) the truth value of such a view was shot through with a contradiction that reduced culture to nothing more that a piece of ideological shorthand since : It overlooks what is decisive : the role of ideology, in social conflicts To suppose, if only methodologically, anything like an independent logic of culture is to collaborate in the hypostasis of culture, the ideological proton pseudos The substance of culture . resides not in culture alone but in relation to something external, to the material life-process Culture as Marx observed of juridicial and political systems, cannot be fully `understood either in terms of itself . or in terms of the so-called universal development of the mind .' To ignore this . is to make ideology the basic matter and to establish it firmly (p 29) On the other hand, while orthodox Marxist theory established a relationship between culture and the material forces of society, it did so by reducing culture to a mere reflex of the economic realm In this view, the primacy of economic forces and the logic scientific laws took precedence over any concern with issues concerning the terrain of everyday life, consciousness, or sexuality (Aronowitz, 1981) For the Frankfurt School, changing socio-economic conditions had made traditional Marxist categories of the 1930s and 1940s untenable They were no longer adequate for understanding the integration of the working class in the West or the political effects of technocratic rationality in the cultural realm Within the Frankfurt School perspective the role of culture in Western society had been modified with the transformation of critical Enlightenment rationality into repressive forms of positivist rationality As a result of the development of new technical capabilities, greater concentrations of economic power, and more sophisticated modes of administration, the rationality of domination increasingly expanded its influence to spheres outside of the locus of economic production Under the sign of Taylorism and scientific management instrumental rationality extended its influence from the domination of nature to the domination of human beings As such, mass cultural institutions such as schools took on a new role in the first half of the 20th century as "both a determinant and fundamental 3 3


component of social consciousness" (Aronowitz, 1976, p 20) According to the Frankfurt School, this meant that the cultural realm now constituted a central place in the production and transformation of historical experience Like Gramsci (1971), Adorno and Horkheimer (1972) argued that domination had assumed a new form Instead of being exercised primarily through the use of physical force (the army and police), the power of the ruling classes was now reproduced through a form of ideological hegemony ; that is, it was established primarily through the rule of consent, and mediated via cultural institutions such as the schools, the family, the mass media, the churches, etc Briefly put, the colonization of the workplace was not supplemented by the colonization of all other cultural spheres (Aronowitz, 1973 ; Enzensberger, 1974 ; and Ewen, 1976) According to the Frankfurt School, culture-like everything else in capitalist society-had been turned into an object That is, under the dual rationalities of administration and exchange the elements of critique and opposition, which the Frankfurt School believed inherent in traditional culture, had been lost Moreover, the objectification of culture did not simply result in the repression of the critical elements in its form and content, such objectification also represented the negation of critical thought itself In Adorno's (1975) words : . culture, in the true sense, did not simply accommodate itself to human beings ; . it always simultaneously raised a protest against the petrified relations under which they lived, thereby honoring them Insofar as culture becomes wholly assimilated to and integrated into those petrified relations, human beings are once more debased (p 13) As far as the Frankfurt School was concerned the cultural realm has become a new locus of control for that aspect of Enlightenment rationality in which the domination of nature and society proceeded under the guise of technical progress and economic growth For Adorno and Horkheimer (1972) culture had become another industry, one which not only produced goods but also legitimated the logic of capital and its institutions The term, "culture industry," was coined by Adorno as a response to the reification of culture and it had two immediate purposes First, it was coined in order to expose the notion that "culture arises spontaneously from the masses themselves" (Lowenthal, 1979, pp 388-389) Second, it pointed to the concentration of economic and political determinants that control the cultural sphere in the interest of social and political domination The term "industry" in the metaphor provided a point o f critical analysis That is, it pointed not only to a concentration of political and economic groups who reproduced and legitimated the dominant belief and value system, it also referred to the mechanisms of rationalization and standardization as they permeated everyday life Or, as Adorno (1975) put it, "the expression `industry' is not to be taken literally It refers to the standardization of the thing itselfsuch as the West3 4


em, familiar to every moviegoer-and to the rationalization of distribution techniques . [and] not strictly to the production process" (p 14) At the core of the theory of culture advanced by Horkheimer, Adorno, and Marcuse was an attempt to expose, through both a call for and demonstration of critique, how positivist rationality manifested itself in the cultural realm For instance, they criticized certain cultural products such as art for excluding the principles of resistance and opposition that once informed their relationship to the world while simultaneously helping to expose it (Horkheimer, 1972) Likewise, for Marcuse (1978), "the truth of art lies in its power to break the monopoly of established reality (i .e ., of those who established it) to define what is real In this rupture . the fictitious world of art appears as true reality" (p 9) The Frankfurt School argued that in the one dimensional society art collapses, rather than highlights, the distinction between reality and the possibility of a higher truth or better world In other words, in the true spirit of positivist harmony, art becomes simply a mirror of the existing reality and in doing so affirms it Thus, either the memory of a historical truth or the image of a better way of life is rendered impotent in the ultra realism of the Warhol Campbell soup painting or the Stakhanovite paintings of socialist realism The dictates of positivist rationality and the attendant mutilation of the power of imagination are also embodied in 'the techniques and forms that shape the messages and discourse of the culture industry Whether it be in the glut of interchangeable plots, gags, or stories, or in the rapid pace of a film's development, the logic of standardization reigns supreme The message is conformity, and the medium for its attainment is amusement, which proudly packages itself as an escape from the necessity of critical thought Under the sway of the culture industry, style subsumes substance and thought becomes an after-thought banished from the temple of official culture Marcuse (1972) states this argument as well as anyone in his comment : By becoming components of the aesthetic form, words, sounds, shapes, and colors are insulated against their familiar, ordinary use and function ; . This is the achievement of style, which is the poem, the novel, the painting, the composition The style, embodiment of the aesthetic form, in subjecting reality to another order, subjects it to the laws of beauty True and false, right and wrong, pain and pleasure, calm and violence become aesthetic categories within the framework of the oeuvre Thus deprived of their (immediate) reality, they enter a different context in which even the ugly, 3 5


cruel, sick become parts of the aesthetic harmony governing the whole (pp 98-99) Inherent in the reduction of culture of amusement is a significant message, one which points to the root of the ethos of positivist rationality, i .e ., the structural division between work and play Within the latter division, work is confined to the imperatives of drudgery, boredom and powerlessness for the vast majority while culture becomes the vehicle by which to escape from such toil The power of the Frankfurt School's analysis lies in its exposure of the ideological fraud that constitutes this division of labor Rather than being an escape from the mechanized work process, the cultural realm becomes an extension of it Adorno and Horkheimer (1972) write : Amusement under late capitalism is the prolongation of work It is sought after as an escape from the mechanized work process, and to recruit strength in order to be able to cope with it again But at the same time mechanization has such power over a man's leisure and happiness and so profoundly determines the manufacture of amusement goods, that his experiences are after images of the work process itself The ostensible content is merely a faded background ; what sinks in is an automatic succession of standardized operations (p 137) The most radical critique of the division of labor among the three theorists under study finds its expression in the work of Herbert Marcuse (1955, 1969) Marcuse (1969) claims that Marxism has not been radical enough in its attempt to develop a new sensibility that would develop as "an instinctual barrier against cruelty, brutality, ugliness" (p 3) Marcuse's (1955) point is that a new rationality which takes as its goal the erotization of labor "and the development and fulfillment of human needs" (p 205) would necessitate new relations of production and organizational structures under which work could take place This should not suggest that Marcuse abandons all forms of authority or that he equates hierarchical relationships with the realm of domination On the contrary, he argues that work and play can interpenetrate each other without either losing their primary character As Agger (1979) points out : ''The implication that Marcuse's insight has for educational criticism, particularly analyses of the ideologies implicit in textbook design is an important one Francis Fitzgerald (1979) illustrates its use in analyzing some recent social studies textbooks : The use of all this art and high-quality design contains some irony The nineteenthcentury photographs of child laborers or urban slum apartments are so beautiful that they transcend their subjects To look at them, or at the Victor Gatto painting of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, is not to see misery or ugliness but an art object In the modern chapters, the contrast between junkyards or polluted rivers look as enticing as Gourmet's photographs of food The book that is perhaps most stark in its description of modern problems illustrates the horrors of nuclear testing with a pretty Ben Shahn picture of the Bikini explosion, and the potential for global ecological disaster with a color photograph of the planet swirling its mantel of white clouds (pp 15-16) 3 6


Marcuse is . saying that . work and play converge without abandoning the `work' character of work itself He retains the rational organization of work without abandoning the Marxian goal of creative praxis As he (Marcuse) notes . `hierarchical relationships are not unfree per se .' That is, it depends upon the kind of hierarchy which informs relationships . Marcuse . suggests two things : in the first place, he hints at a theory of work which rests upon the merger of work and play components His views in this regard are captured in his vision of the `erotization of labor .' In the second place, Marcuse, hints at a form of organizational rationality which is nondominating (p 194) According to Marcuse (1964) science and technology have been integrated under the imprint of a dominating rationality that has penetrated the world of communicative interaction (the public sphere) as well as the world of work It is worth mentioning that Habermas (1970), in contrast, argues that science and technology within the sphere of work are necessarily limited to technical considerations, and that the latter organization of work represents the price an advanced industrial order must pay for its material comfort This position has been challenged by a number of theorists including Aronowitz (1980) who astutely argues that Habermas separates "communications and normative judgments from the labor process" (p 80), and in doing so "had ceded to technological consciousness the entire sphere of rational purposive action [work]" (pp 81-82) In opposition to Habermas, Marcuse (1964) argues that radical change means more than simply the creation of conditions that foster critical thinking and communicative competence Such change also entails the transformation of the labor process itself and the fusion of science and technology under the guise of a rationality that stresses cooperation and selfmanagement in the interest of a democratic community and social freedom While there are significant differences among Adorno, Horkheimer, and Marcuse regarding their indictment of positivist rationality and their respective notions about what constitutes an aesthetic or radical sensibility, their views converge on the existing repressiveness underlying positivist rationality and the need for the development of a collective critical consciousness and sensibility that would embrace a discourse of opposition and non-identity as a precondition of human freedom Thus, for them, criticism represented an indispensible element in the struggle for emancipation, and it is precisely in their call for criticism and a new sensibility that one finds an analysis of the nature of domination that contains invaluable insights for a theory of social education The analysis, in this case, includes the Frankfurt School's theory of depth psychology to which I will now briefly turn The Frankfurt School's Analysis of Depth Psychology As I have pointed out previously, the Frankfurt School faced a major contradiction in at3 7


tempting to develop a critical tradition within Marxist theory On the one hand, the historical legacy since Marx had witnessed increased material production and the continued conquest of nature in both the advanced industrial countries of the West and the countries of the socialist bloc as well In both camps, it appeared that the objective conditions that promoted alienation, despite economic growth, had deepened For example, in the West the production of goods and the ensuing commodity fetishism made a mockery of the concept of the good life, reducing it to the issue of purchasing power In the socialist bloc, the centralization of political power led to political repression instead of political and economic freedom as had been promised Yet in both cases the consciousness of the masses failed to keep pace with such conditions For the Frankfurt School it became clear that a theory of consciousness and depth psychology was needed to explain the subjective dimension of liberation and domination Marx had provided the political and economic grammar of domination, but he relegated the psychic dimension to a secondary status and believed that the latter would follow any significant changes in the economic realm Thus, it was left to the Frankfurt School, especially Marcuse (1955, 1964, 1969, 1970), to analyze the formal structure of consciousness in order to discover how a dehumanized society could continue to maintain its control over its inhabitants, and similarly, how it was possible that human beings could participate willingly at the level of everyday life in the reproduction of their own dehumanization and exploitation For answers, the Frankfurt School turned to a critical study of Freud If a general theory of culture had been fashioned from the tools of sociological and historical analyses, it remained to merge Marx with Freud in order to complete the task But the notion of depth psychology as a social and political category did not make its first appearance in the work of the Frankfurt School ; its historical, political and theoretical roots were first established in the early works of Wilhelm Reich (1949, 1970, 1969, 1970, 1971) Reich's work is important because it exercised a strong influence on figures such as Erich Fromm, who was one of the first members of the Frankfurt School to display a serious interest in Freud's work Moreover, the work of Reich and Fromm influenced in both a positive and negative manner the way in which Adorno, Horkheimer, and Marcuse developed their own perspectives on Freudian psychology Historical Background to Depth Psychology Wilhelm Reich (1949, 1970) began with the assumption that the rise of authoritarianism in Europe in the 1920s and the willingness of sections of the working class to participate in such movements could not be explained by the breakdown of social relations into merely economic and political categories While the latter were clearly important in any discussion of domination, such categories did not address the question of how domination was internalized 3 8


by the oppressed Put another way, such categories could not provide an answer to the question of how it was possible that the oppressed could participate actively in their own oppression In attempting to answer the above questions, Reich's early work provided both a critique of orthodox Marxism and an elaboration of the role that Freudian thought might play in deepening and extending a critical Marxist perspective For Reich, as well as for the Frankfurt School, "crude" Marxism had eliminated the notion of subjectivity and as such had blundered both theoretically and politically That is, theoretically European Marxism in the early 1920s had failed to develop a much needed political psychology because of its indifference to the issues of subjectivity and the politics of everyday life On the other hand, it blundered politically because by abandoning a concern for issues such as human motivation, the nature of human desire, and the importance of human needs as fundamental components of a theory of political change it had "surrendered" to Hitler and Fascism the opportunity to mobilize both working class and middle class groups by engaging their emotions and appealing through propagandistic techniques to important psychic needs, i .e ., solidarity, community, nationalism, self-identity, etc Reich (1971) is worth quoting on this issue : One element in the fundamental cause of the failure of socialismonly an element, but an important one, no longer to be ignored, no longer to be regarded as secondary-is the absence of an effective doctrine of political psychology . . This shortcoming of ours has become the greatest advantage of the class enemy, the mightiest weapon of fascism While we presented the masses with superb historical analyses and economic treatises on the contradictions of imperialism, Hitler stirred the deepest roots of their emotional being As Marx would have put it, we left the praxis of the subjective factor to the idealists ; we acted like mechanistic, economistic materialists (p 19) For Reich, the obstacles to political change could, in part, be overcome by delineating "the exact place of psychoanalysis within Marxism" (Jacoby, 1975, p 90) In Reich's (1972) terms, this meant uncovering the way in which concrete mediations, whether they be in the form of discourse, social relations, or the productions of the mass media, functioned so as to produce the internalization of values and ideologies that inhibited the development of individual and collective social consciousness Central to Reich's (1970, 1971) early focus on explaining the role of psychoanalysis within a Marxist perspective was his emphasis on character structure, the role of the family as an oppressive agency of socialization, and the importance of sexual repression as a basis for authoritarianism In brief, Reich (1949) argued that the patriarchal family under capitalist social relations "creates those character forms which it needs for its 3 9


preservation" (p xxii) In this case, Reich believed that the family was a microcosm of the dominant society and that through its perpetuation of sexual repression it created personality structures receptive to authoritarian ideologies and movements As Reich (1970) puts it : Authoritarian society's fight against the sexuality of children and adolescents, and the consequent struggle in one's own ego, takes place within the framework of the authoritarian family, which has thus far proven to be the best institution to carry out this fight successfully . it is the authoritarian family that represents the foremost and most essential source of reproduction of every kind of reactionary thinking ; it is a factory where reactionary ideology and reactionary structures are produced Hence, the `safeguarding of the family,' i .e ., of the authoritarian and large family, is the first cultural precept of every reactionary policy (p 56, 60) While members of the Frankfurt School saw both the role of the family and the importance of sexual repression in generating fascism in more expansive and dialectical terms, they were strongly influenced by Reich's formulations on the role and nature of depth psychology in providing the basis for a more critical Marxism Erich Fromm As one of the first members of the Frankfurt School to display a sustained interest in Freud's work, Erich Fromm occupies an important place in the attempt to locate psychoanalysis within a Marxist framework Like Reich, Fromm was interested in Freud's attempt to reveal those linkages between the individual and society that illuminated the dynamics of psychological repression and social domination As such, Fromm's (1970) early work on the patriarchical family as well as his modifications of Freud's ahistorical view of the unconscious exercised a significant influence on Adorno, Horkheimer, and Marcuse Equally important is the negative influence that Fromm had on latter theorists As Fromm (1941, 1947) later rejected many of his early formulations regarding Freud's work, particularly as he shifted his focus from a psychology of the unconscious to one of the conscious, from sexuality to morality, and from repression to personality development (Jacoby, 1975), the Frankfurt School began to fashion their own diverse versions of Freudian theory in reaction to Fromm's revisionist reading of psychoanalysis Adorno, Horkheimer and Marcuse on Depth Psychology For the Frankfurt School, Freud's metapsychology provided an important theoretical foundation for revealing the interplay between the individual and society More specifically, the value of Freudian psychology in this case rested with its illumination of the antagonistic character of social reality As a theoretician of contradictions, Freud provided a radical insight into the way in which society reproduced its powers both in and over the individual As Jacoby (1975) puts it : 4 0


Psychoanalysis shows its strength ; it demystifies the claims to liberated values, sensitivities, emotions, by tracing them to a repressed psychic social, and biological dimension . it keeps to the pulse of the psychic underground As such it is more capable of grasping the intensifying social unreason that the conformist psychologies repress and forget : the barbarism of civilization itself, the barely suppressed misery of the living, the madness that haunts society (p 18) The Frankfurt School theorists believed that it was only in an understanding of the dialectic between the individual and society that the depth and extent of domination as it existed both within and outside of the individual could be open to modification and transformation Thus, for Adorno, Horkheimer, and Marcuse, Freud's emphasis on the constant struggles between the individual's desire for instinctual gratification and the dynamics of social repression provided an indispensible clue to understanding the nature of society and the dynamics of psychic domination and liberation Adorno (1967) points to this in the following comments : The only totality the student of society can presume to know is the antagonistic whole, and if he is to attain to totality at all, then only in contradiction . . The jarring elements that make up the individual, his `properties,' are invariably moments of the social totality He is, in the strict sense a monad, representing the whole and its contradictions, without however, being at any time conscious of the whole (pp 74-77) In order to explore the depth of the conflict between the individual and society, the Frankfurt School accepted with some major modifications most of Freud's most radical assumptions More specifically, Freud's theoretical schema contained three important elements for developing a depth psychology First, Freud provided a formal psychological structure for the Frankfurt School theorists to work with That is, the Freudian outline of the structure of the psyche with its underlying struggle between eros (the life instinct), the death instinct, and the outside world represented a key conception in the depth psychology developed by the Frankfurt School Secondly, Freud's studies on psychopathology, particularly his sensitivity to humanity's capacity for self-destructiveness and his focus on the loss of ego-stability and the decline of the influence of the family in contemporary society, added significantly to the Frankfurt School analyses of mass society and the rise of the authoritarian personality For the Frankfurt School, the growing concentration of power in capitalist society along with the pervasive intervention of the state in the affairs of everyday life had altered the dialectical role of the traditional family as both a positive and negative site for identify formation That is, the family traditionally had provided, on the one hand, a sphere of warmth and protection for its members, while, on the other hand, it also func4 1


tinned as a repository for social and sexual repression But under the development of advanced industrial capitalism, the latter dual function of the family was gradually giving way to functioning exclusively as a site for social and cultural reproduction Finally, by focusing on Freud's theory of instincts and metapsychology, the Frankfurt School devised a theoretical framework for unraveling and exposing the objective and psychological obstacles to social change This issue is important because it provides significant insights into how depth psychology might be useful for developing a more comprehensive theory of social education Since there were some major differences between Adorno and Horkheimer, on the one side, and Marcuse on the other regarding Freud's theory of instincts as well as his view of the relationship between the individual and society, I will treat their respective contributions separately Adorno and Horkheimer on Depth Psychology Adorno (1968) was quick to point out that while Freud's denunciation of "man's unfreedom" overidentified with a particular historical period and thus "petrified into an anthropological constant" (p 81), it did not seriously distract from his greatness as a theoretician of contradictions That is, in spite of the limitations in Freudian theory, Adorno and Horkheimer firmly believed that psychoanalysis provided a strong theoretical bulwark against those psychological and social theories that exalted the idea of the "integrated personality" and the "wonders" of social harmony True to Adorno's (1968) view that "every image of man is ideology except the negative one" (p 84), Freud's work appeared to transcend its own shortcomings because at one level it personified the spirit of negation Adorno (1967, 1968) clearly exalted the negative and critical features of psychoanalysis and saw them as major theoretical weapons to be used against every form of identity theory The goals of identity theory and revisionist psychology were both political and ideological in nature, and it was precisely through the use of Freud's metapsychology that they could be exposed as such As Adorno (1968) put it : The goal of the `well integrated personality' is objectionable because it expects the individual to establish an equilibrium between conflicting forces which does not obtain in existing society Nor should it, because these forces are not of equal moral merit People are taught to forget the objective conflicts which necessarily repeat themselves in every individual instead of being helped to grapple with them (p 83) While it was clear to the Frankfurt School that psychoanalysis could not solve the problems of repression and authoritarianism, they believed that it did provide important insights into how "people become accomplices to their own subjugation" (Benjamin, 1977, p 22) Yet, beneath the analyses put forth on psychoanalysis by Adorno (1967, 1968, 1972, 4 2


1973) and Horkheimer (1972) there lurked a disturbing paradox While both theorists went to great lengths to explain the dynamics of authoritarianism and psychological domination, they said very little about those formal aspects of consciousness that might provide a basis for resistance and rebellion That is, while Freudian psychology in their view registered a powerful criticism of existing society in exposing its antagonistic character, Horkheimer and Adorno failed to locate in either individuals or social classes the psychological or political grounds for recognizing such contradictions and acting to transform them Consequently, Adorno and Horkheimer provided a view of Freudian psychology that consigned Freud to the ambiguous status of being a radical as well as a prophet of gloom Marcuse's Search For Freud If Adorno and Horkheimer viewed Freud as a revolutionary pessimist, Marcuse (1955) read him as a revolutionary utopian That is, though Marcuse (1955) accepts most of Freud's most controversial assumptions, his interpretation of the latter are both unique and provocative In one sense, Marcuse's (1955, 1968, 1970) analysis contained an original dialectical twist in that it pointed to a utopian integration of Marx and Freud While Marcuse (1955) accepted Freud's view of the antagonistic relations between the individual and society as a fundamental insight, he nevertheless altered some of Freud's basic categories and in doing so situated Freud's pessimism within a historical context that revealed its strengths as well as limitations In doing so, Marcuse was able to illuminate the importance of Freud's metapsychology as a basis for social change This becomes particularly clear if we examine how Marcuse (1955, 1968, 1970) reworked Freud's basic claims regarding the life and death instincts, the struggle between the individual and society, the relationship between scarcity and social repression, and, finally, the issues of freedom and human emancipation Marcuse (1955, 1964) begins with the basic assumption that inherent in Freud's theory of the unconscious and theory of the instincts the theoretical elements for a more comprehensive view of the nature of individual and social domination could be found Marcuse (1955) point to this possibility when he writes : The struggle against freedom reproduces itself in the psyche of man, as the self repression of the repressed individual, and his self represssion in turn sustains his masters and their institutions It is in the mental dynamic which Freud unfolds as the dynamic of civilization . . Freud's metapsychology is an ever renewed attempt to uncover, to question, the terrible necessity of the inner connection between civilization and barbarism, progress and suffering, freedom and unhappiness a connection which reveals itself ultimately as that between Eros and Thanatos (pp 16-17) For Marcuse (1955, 1970) Freudian psychology posited, as a result of its analysis of the relationship between civilization and instinctual repres4 3


sion, the theoretical basis for understanding the distinction between socially necessary authority and authoritarianism That is, in the interplay between the need for social labor and the equally important need for sublimation of sexual energy, the dynamic connection between domination and freedom, on the one hand, and authority and authoritarianism, on the other, starts to become discernible Freud presented the conflict between the individual's instinctual need for pleasure and the society's demand for repression as an insoluble problem rooted in a transhistorical struggle ; as such, he pointed to the continuing repressive transformation of eros in society along with the growing propensity for self destruction Marcuse (1970) believed that the "Freudian conception of the relationship between civilization and the dynamics of the instincts [was] in need of a decisive correction" (p 20) That is, whereas Freud (1949) saw the increased necessity for social and instinctual repression, Marcuse (1955, 1970) argued that any understanding of social repression had to be situated within a specific historical context and judged as to whether such systems of domination exceeded their bounds To ignore such a distinction was to forfeit the possibility of analyzing the difference between the exercise of legitimate authority and illegitimate forms of domination For Marcuse (1955), Freud had failed to capture in his analysis the historical dynamic of organized domination and thus he gave it the status and dignity of a biological development that was universal rather than historically contingent While Marcuse (1955) accepts the Freudian notion that the central conflict in society is between the reality principle and the pleasure principle, he rejects the position that the latter had to adjust to the former In other words, Freud (1949) believed that "the price of civilization is paid for in forfeiting happiness through heightening of the sense of guilt" (p 114) This is important because at the core of Freud's notion that humanity was forever condemned to diverting pleasure and sexual energy into alienating labor was an appeal to a transhistorical "truth" : that scarcity was inevitable in society and that labor was inherently alienating In opposition to Freud, Marcuse (1955) argued that the reality principle referred to a particular form of historical existence when scarcity legitimately dictated instinctual repression But in the contemporary period, such conditions had been superceded and as such abundance, and not scarcity, characterized or informed the reality principle governing the advanced industrial countries of the West In order to add a more fully historical dimension to Freud's analysis, Marcuse (1955) introduced the notions of performance principle and surplus repression By arguing that scarcity was not a universal aspect of the human condition, Marcuse (1955, 1970) claimed that the moment had arrived within the industrial West when it was no longer necessary to submit men and women to the demands of alienating labor The existing reality principle, which Marcuse (1955) labeled as the performance principle, had outstripped its historical function, i .e ., the sublimation of eros 4 4


in the interest of socially necessary labor The performance principle, with its emphasis on technocratic reason and exchange rationality, was, in Marcuse's (1955) terms, both historically contingent and socially repressive As a relatively new mode of domination it tied people to values, ideas and social practices that blocked their possibilities for gratification and happiness as ends in themselves In short, Marcuse (1955) believed that inherent in Marx's view of societal abundance and Freud's theory of instincts was the basis for a new performance principle, one that was governed by the principles of socially necessary labor as well as by those aspects of the pleasure principle that integrated work, play, and sexuality This leads us to Marcuse's second important notion, i .e ., the concept of surplus repression The excessiveness of the existing nature of domination could be measured through what Marcuse (1955) labeled as surplus repression Making a distinction between socially useful repression and surplus repression, Marcuse (1955) claims that : Within the total structure of the repressed personality, surplus repression is that portion which is the result of specific societal conditions sustained in the specific act of domination The extent of this surplus-repression provides the standard of measurement : the smaller it is, the less repressive is the stage of civilization The distinction is equivalent to that between the biological and the historical sources of human suffering (pp 87-88) According to Marcuse (1955, 1970), it is within this dialectical interplay of the personality structure and historically conditioned repression that the nexus exists for uncovering the historical and contemporary nature of domination Domination in this sense is twice historical : first, it is rooted in the historically developed socio-economic conditions of a given society ; second, it is rooted in the sedimented history or personality structure of individuals In speaking of domination as a psychological as well as political phenomenon, Marcuse (1955, 1970) did not give a blank check to wholesale gratification On the contrary, he agreed with Freud that some forms of repression were generally necessary ; what he objected to was the unnecessary repression that was embodied in tie ethos and social practices that characterized social institutions suchas the school, workplace, and family For Marcuse (1969) the most penetrating marks of social repression are generated in the inner history of individuals, in the "needs, satisfactions, and values which reproduce the servitude of human existence" (p 6) As such needs are mediated and reinforced through the patterns and social routines of everyday life, and the "false" needs that perpetuate toil, misery, and aggressiveness become anchored in the personality structure as second nature That is, the historical character of such needs is "forgotten" and they become reduced to patterns of habit 4 5


In the end, Marcuse (1955) grounds even Freud's important notion of death instinct (the autonomous drive that increasingly leads to self destruction) in a radical problematic That is, by claiming that the primary drive of humanity is pleasure, Marcuse (1955) redefines the death instinct by arguing that it is mediated not by the need for self destruction, although that is a form it may take, but by the need to resolve tension Rooted in such a perspective, the death instinct is not only redefined, it is also politicized in that Marcuse (1955) argues that in a non-repressive society it would be subordinated to the demands of eros As such, Marcuse (1955, 1969) ends up supporting the Frankfurt School's notion of negative thinking, but with an important qualification He insists on its value as a mode of critique, but he equally insists that it is grounded in socio-economic conditions that can be transformed Thus, it is the promise of a better future rather than despair over the existing nature of society that informs both Marcuse's work, and its possibilities as a mode of critique for social educators The relevance of Marcuse's analysis for educational theory becomes obvious in the more recent work of Pierre Bourdieu (1977a, 1977b) Bourdieu argues that the school and other social institutions legitimate and reinforce through specific sets of practices and discourses class based systems of behavior and dispositions that function to reproduce the existing dominant society As such, Bourdieu extends Marcuse's insights by pointing to a notion of learning in which a child internalizes the cultural messages of the school not only via the Tatter's official discourse (symbolic mastery), but also through the messages embodied in the `insignificant' practices of daily classroom life Bourdieu (1977b) is worth quoting at length on this issue : [Schools] . set such a store on seemingly most insignificant details of dress, bearing, physical and verbal manners . . The principles embodied in this way are placed beyond the grasp of consciousness, and hence cannot be touched by voluntary, deliberate transformation, cannot even be made explicit . . The whole trick of pedagogic reason lies precisely in the way it extorts the essential while seeming to demand the insignificant : in obtaining respect for forms and forms of respect which constitute the most visible and at the same time the best hidden manifestations to the established order (pp 94-95) Unlike Bourdieu, Marcuse believes that historically conditioned needs that function in the interest of domination can be changed That is, Marcuse (1955) argues any viable form of political action must begin with a notion of political education in which a new language, qualitatively different social relations, and a new set of values would have to operate with the purpose of creating a new environment "in which the nonaggressive, erotic, receptive faculties of man, in harmony with the consciousness of freedom, strive for the pacification of man and nature" (Mar4 6


cuse, 1969, p 31) Thus, the notion of depth psychology developed by the Frankfurt School not only provides new insights into how subjectivities are formed or how ideology functions as lived experience, it also provides theoretical tools to establish the conditions for new needs, new systems of values, and new social practices that take seriously the imperatives of a critical pedagogy CONCLUSION While it is impossible to elaborate in any detail what the implications of the work of the Frankfurt School might be for theories of social education, I can point briefly to some general considerations I believe it is clear that the thought of the Frankfurt School provides a major challenge and stimulus to educational theorists who are critical of theories of social education that are tied to functionalist paradigms based on assumptions drawn from a positivist rationality For instance, against the positivist spirit that infuses existing educational theory and practice, whether it takes the form of the Tyler model or various systems approaches, the Frankfurt School offers an historical analysis as well as a penetrating philosophical framework that indict the wider culture of positivism, while at the same time providing insights into how the latter becomes incorporated within the ethos and practices of schools Though there is a growing body of educational literature that is critical of positivist rationality in schools, it lacks the sophistication found in the work of the Frankfurt School Moreover, even some of the better histories of curriculum theory and social education have failed to analyze the positivist underpinnings of curriculum development within a wider historical context, one that demonstrates the relationship between the dominant culture of positivism and the mechanisms of schooling (Giroux, 1981a and Wexler, forthcoming) Similarly, the importance of historical consciousness as a fundamental component of critical thinking in the Frankfurt School paradigm creates a valuable epistemological terrain upon which to develop modes of critique that illuminate the interaction of the social and the personal, on the one hand, and history and private experience on the other Through this form of analysis, dialectical thought replaces positivist forms of social inquiry That is, the logic of predictability, verifiability, transferability, and operationalism is replaced by a dialectical mode of thinking that stresses the historical, relational and normative dimensions of social inquiry and school knowledge In addition, the Frankfurt School's theory of culture offers new concepts and categories for analyzing the role that schools play as agents of social and cultural reprdouction By illuminating the relationship between power and culture, the Frankfurt School provides a perspective on the way in which dominant ideologies are constituted and mediated via specific cultural formations The concept of culture in this sense exists in a particular relationship to the material base of society ; and the explanatory power of such a relationship is to be found in making problematic 4 7


the specific content of a culture, its relationship to dominant and subordinate social groups, the socio-historical genesis of the ethos and practices of legitimating cultures and their role in constituting relations of domination and resistance For example, by pointing to schools as cultural sites that embody conflicting political values and practices, it becomes possible to investigate how schools can be studied as an expression of the wider organization of society, particularly with respect to the class and gender based nature of the content, methods and modes of educational research that characterize school life Marcuse's (1964) study of language, Adorno's (1976) analysis of the sociology of music, and Horkheimer's (1972, 1974) investigations into the normative grounding of theory provide a number of theoretical constructs through which to investigate the socially constructed nature of school experience and to weigh the truth claims inherent in such experiences against the reality of the existing society The treatment of culture as a political entity in the work of the Frankfurt School also points to a mode of analysis by which educators can develop theories of social education that give a central role to the history or cultural capital that students from different groups bring with them to the school It is no small matter to argue that students need to affirm their own histories through the use of a language, set of practices, and subject matter that dignifies the cultural constructs and experiences that make up the tissue and texture of their daily lives Once the affirmative nature of such a pedagogy is established, it becomes possible for students, especially those students who have been traditionally voiceless in schools, to learn the skills, knowledge, and modes of inquiry that will allow them to analyze critically what role the existing society has played in both shaping and thwarting their aspirations and goals Moreover, it is important that such students come to grips with what this society has made of them, how it has incorporated them both materially and ideologically, and what it is they need affirm and reject in their own histories in order to begin the process of struggling for a self-managed existence Unlike models of a functionalist orientation, whether they be drawn from a conservative or radical orientation, the Frankfurt School's theory of culture also stresses the importance of consciousness and subjectivity in the process of learning and self-formation While it is true that Adorno, Marcuse, and Horkheimer placed a heavy weight on the notion of domination in their analysis, and the integration of the masses into the existing society, I believe that such an emphasis was meant to highlight the forces of social and political domination at a time when it was difficult to understand or even recognize the nature of such domination Such an analysis was not meant to downplay the importance of human intervention or the possibilities for social change ; in fact, the notion of hope and the possibility of transcendence were embodied in the Frankfurt School's notion of critique That is, inherent in the latter view was the 4 8


idea that a better world was possible, that people could speak, act, and think in terms that spoke to a qualitatively better life Thus, the notion of critique and the development of an active critical consciousness were pointed to and focused on as the preconditions for cultural and political mobilization Finally, it is clear that almost all theories of social education are too cognitive They lack a depth psychology, as well as an appreciation of a sensibility that points to the importance of the sensual and imaginative as central dimensions of the schooling experience The Frankfurt School's notion of depth psychology, especially Marcuse's work, opens up new terrain for a developing a critical pedagogy In other words, it speaks to the need to fashion new categories of analyses that will enable educators to become more knowledgeable regarding how teachers, students, and other educational workers become part of the system of social and cultural reproduction, particularly as it works through the messages and values that are constituted via the social practices of the hidden curriculum (Giroux, 1981c) By acknowledging the need for a critical social psychology, educators can begin to identify how ideologies get constituted and they can then identify and reconstruct social practices and processes that break rather than continue existing forms of social and psychological domination The task of translating the work of the Frankfurt School into terms that inform and enrich educational theory and practice will be difficult, especially since any attempt to use such work will have to begin with the understanding that it contains shortcomings and that in addition such work cannot be imposed in grid-like fashion onto a theory of social education For instance, the Frankfurt School theorists did not develop a comprehensive theoretical approach for dealing with the patterns of conflict and contradictions that existed in various cultural spheres ; moreover, they never developed adequately the notion of dual consciousness That is, the contradictory modes of thinking that characterize the way most people view the world were not explored adequately nor were such modes of thinking analyzed carefully enough with respect to the value they might have for developing counter-hegemonic struggles As such, the notion of resistance was underplayed by the Frankfurt School Any attempt to read the work of Adorno, Marcuse, and Horkheimer, then, must be done critically and then it must be applied selectively within the specificity of the context in which it will be used It should also be stressed that beyond the complexity and shortcomings inherent in such work, there are the structural and political constraints that may prevent teachers and others from incorporating it into their educational experiences To use such work presupposes the development of a mode of radical pedagogy that might encounter enormous resistance and even endanger one's job These constraints cannot be taken lightly, even though such risks are involved in all struggles that attempt to strive for a better 4 9


society and world Thus, the conditions under which this work is to be used have to be given serious thought or one may fall into the trap of either expecting too much too soon from such work or one may attempt to abstract it from the context in which it is to be used and be unable to deal with the way in which such a context might resist or alter the nature of such theoretical approach If one is to avoid the pitfalls of either a false utopianism or an equally false despair, the theoretical insights gleaned from the work of the Frankfurt School must be mediated by the ideological and material conditions that give meaning to specific school settings and classroom sites Finally, it is important to note that while schools are not the sole sites for implementing social change, they do offer an important terrain on which to provide future generations with new ways for thinking about the building of a more just society The work of the Frankfurt School provides a major contribution to educators who want to play a role in helping students think and struggle in the interest of a better world 5 0


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Theory and Research in Social Education Volume 9 Number 4, Winter 1982, pp 57-73 €by The College and University Faculty Assembly of The National Council for the Social Studies Discourse and Criticism in the Social Studies Classroom Cleo H Cherryholmes Michigan State University I The difficult thing to explain about how middle class kids get middle class jobs is why others let them The difficult thing to explain about how working class kids get working class jobs is why they let themselves It is much too facile simply to say that they have no choice . There is no obvious physical coercion and a degree of self direction (Willis, 1977, p 1) There are a number of social processes that are largely invisible in social studies education Getting jobs and selecting careers is one such process But the relationship between social background and jobs and careers that has been stable throughout the twentieth century in the United States (Blau and Duncan, 1967) has not been given attention in the social studies either as a description, explanation, or interpretation of our society In a sense social studies education is like Vincent Canby's description of television : Ninety-nine out of a hundred images we see on television are essentially passive, by which I mean they are accepting of the way things are They're never skeptical (1980, Section 1, p 1) This is certainly the case with social studies textbooks (Anyon, 1979a and 1979b) The origins and nature of this lack of skepticism and criticism in social studies education and a proposed counter strategy is the focus of this paper 5 7


It has been argued elsewhere that a broad set of positivist epistemological assumptions that characterize social studies education leads to the objectification of social phenomena (Cherryholmes, 1980) Such objectification sanctions the non-critical acceptance of social reproduction as it exists in the United States But a growing number of critiques of mainstream social studies thinking and practice agree in principle with Michael Young's assessment of the "new" sociology of education The sociological mission was not to explain the world to others, but to tell them that it was really theirs already, if only they knew (Young, 1978, p 131) Social studies education that can be traced to the new social studies as well as the older model of citizenship transmission purports, however, to explain the world to students and does not tell them in any sense that it is theirs The growing critical literature suggests that there are fundamental misconstructions in many widely accepted views of social studies education The criticisms have ranged from epistemological ones (Cherryholmes, 1980) to the politics of social education and research (Apple, 1971 ; Anyon, 1979 ; and Popkewitz, 1978) and the ideological dimensions of social studies education (Giroux and Penna, 1979 and van Manen, 1975) The relationships among these critiques, even though there are points of disagreement, exemplify the way that matters of epistemology and ideology are related It is not possible, for example, to search for or discuss "true" statements without presuming a normative structure that guides the search or governs the discussion The norms that guide the search for truth constitute the ideology of the discourse If these norms change, what we presume to be true about the world is also altered These critiques assume and sometimes highlight different aspects of the epistemololgical/ideological relationship The relationships between questions of epistemology and matters of ideology are complex This has been argued in different ways by Berlin (1962), Bernstein (1976), W olin (1968), and Habermas (1971) among others But social studies educators, for the most part, have treated questions of knowledge as the non-problematic product of the social sciences and history What social studies educators have treated as non-problematic, however, has become a matter of debate in curriculum The Tanner and Tanner (1979a and 1979b) and Pinar (1979) exchange is an example of this The problematic nature of knowledge in social studies education can be appraised by focusing on two related issues, the epistemological search for truth about society and the norms and ideology that guide the search In the curriculum field the debate has tended to become entangled in ideological claims and charges The result has been to obfuscate the criticisms offered and the defenses raised against them For this reason, the following argument will begin with 5 8


epistemological considerations and then move to questions of criticism, discourse, and ideology Broadly speaking, much contemporary thinking about the purpose of information and knowledge in the social studies reflects the pragmatism of Dewey, which is an instrumental utilization of knowledge One of Newmann's points can be used as an illustration, To formulate defensible goals in public affairs, therefore, individuals must grapple with empirical and definitional, as well as moral or value, issues Research skills in the collection, organization, and interpretation of data are required to determine, for example, the extent of housing code violations in a neighborhood or discriminatory practices in a public agency To predict probable effects of proposed policies for dealing with such problems requires similar research capability (Newmann, 1975, pp 83-84) Information and knowledge are useful, because they help one chart a path through the social and physical world The options are first laid out and can then be weighted by one's values in making personal and social decisions (Engle, 1960 and Engle and Longstreet, 1972) This view of information and knowledge in social studies education makes eminently good sense as far as it goes But the nature of social knowledge is a bit more complex than it first might appear The view one takes of social information and knowledge and their relation to social phenomena determines, to a large degree, the options to be considered in a decision making approach to social studies Newmann correctly interprets one aspect of this problem If information is available about only one course of action, the decision calculus is much less complex than if available information and knowledge suggests multiple options The epistemological position implied in Newmann's statement represents mainstream thinking in the social studies The problem can be illustrated by the following example . since 1920 no more than 64 percent of the American population eligible to vote has ever turned out to vote in a presidential election . The local level suffers more seriously Less than 40 percent of the eligible voter population tends to turn out to vote in local election . There are many reasons why people choose to vote or not to vote Some of the reasons have to do with income and education Other reasons include religion or ethnic or racial identification (Gillespie and Lazarus, 1979, pp 105-106) What does this statement mean? At least two different kinds of assumptions must be made in assigning a meaning to this statement One assumption is about the phenomenon itself, in this case the act of nonvoting A second assumption must be made about the statement describing the act It is important to distinguish between an individual choosing 5 9


not to go to the polls and the statement . since 1920 no more than The act of non-voting can be looked at in at least two ways It can be treated as a given, naturally occurring, objective phenomenon or it can be seen as an intentional act by those who have chosen not to vote and who could have chosen to do otherwise If the former position is accepted, social studies education will tend to focus on regularities of behavior If one accepts the latter, social studies will not stop with covering generalizations of observed regularities but will also move on to interpretation of those generalizations and criticism of the interpretations (Bernstein, 1976) The statement, . since 1920 no more than . .," can also be viewed from different perspectives These perspectives can be highlighted by the question, what does it mean if the statement is true? But to answer this one must first address what is meant by truth, and truth is seemingly non-problematic in contemporary social studies education Philosophically, the meaning of truth is not settled ; four competing views will be mentioned The correspondence theory of truth, according to Tarski, is that "a sentence is true if it is satisfied by all objects and false otherwise" (Tarski, 1952, p 25) Intuitively, this is an appealing idea But it runs into the fundamental problem that statements are different from things in the world Formal logic provides rules for testing statements against statements but there are only guidelines for testing statements against things A second view is that a statement's truth is determined by its relation to other statements Variants of this include the coherence theory of truth, the pragmatic theory of truth, and the consensus theory of truth Under the coherence theory, . to say that a statement is true or false is to say that it coheres or fails to cohere with a system of other statements . (White, 1967, p 130) One version of the pragmatic theory is summarized in the following passage : Ideas become true when their "draft upon existence" is honored by the verifying facts they promise According to Dewey's analysis of the working correspondence of idea and fact, the notion that truth somehow exists antecedent to and separate from inquiry is meaningless For him truth was a mutable concept Truth "happens to an idea" when it becomes a verified or unwarranted assertion (Ezorsky, 1967, p 42) The consensus theory of truth has been suggested by Habermas and is based, in part, on the work of Pierce : 6 0


The meaning of the truth or untruth of a statement does not consist in the conditions guaranteeing the objectivity of our experience but in the possibility of argumentative corroboration of a truth claim which is falsifiable in principle (Habermas, 1973, p 166) Truth qua justification of the truth claim inherent in a proposition does not reveal itself, like the objectivity of experience, in feedback controlled action but only in a process of successful reasoning by which the truth claim is first rendered problematic and then redeemed (Habermas, 1973, p 169) A brief consideration of these views reveals some of the complexity of social knowledge Because of the ontological ambiguity of the correspondence theory of truth, a view of truth whereby statements cohere, are warranted, or are tested by other statements is attractive But the statements with which the statement being tested must cohere, by which it is warranted, and against which it is tested may be, in their turn, incorrect We are reduced to testing one judgment against another To return to Newmann's example, the true number of housing code violations depends on judgments concerning correct interpretations of the housing code, properly trained housing inspectors, free access, accurate record keeping procedures, adequate budget, and a number of other factors It is necessary to judge each of these factors before asserting the truth of a statement concerning the number of housing code violations With the coherence theory it is possible to have different logically consistent sets of statements about the same phenomenon with no way to choose among them, incommensurable theories as it were The pragmatic theory faces a different problem Truth is warranted in the context of inquiry but purposes guide inquiry and purposes are normative and may inject biases into inquiry Habermas developed the idea of communicative competence and discourse to deal with the problem of bias and distortion Free and unconstrained discourse that leads to increasingly reflected levels of thought is used to test the truth of statements This allows one set of coherent statements to be evaluated against another as well as to reveal the purposes and normative commitments embedded in them Habermas's goal of "demystifying false consciousness" can be approached as arguments are increasingly reflected There are, then, conflicting conceptualizations of the nature of social phenomena and social knowledge Certain traditions encourage the objectification of an external social world where the truth of statements is judged against objects (Popper, 1965) An interpretative, critical perspective, on the other hand, assumes that the social world is in need of interpretation and interpretations are in need of criticism Criticism is needed to disclose and peel back the layers of value and commitment embedded in interpretations and explanations Criticism does not lead to value free knowledge claims but instead surfaces, analyzes, and scrutinizes existing values with the goal of emancipating individuals from 6 1


social institutions that are historically and culturally conditioned (Habermas, 1976) The passiveness and lack of skepticism in social studies education may stem from an implicit commitment to an objectified social world and a correspondence theory of truth These are often related to other epistemological assumptions, such as beliefs that : there is a fact/value distinction, there is a distinction between observational and theoretical terms, there is a distinction between analytic and synthetic statements, science is an inductive process, and there is a unity in all of the sciences (Cherryholmes, 1980) But each of these assumptions has been seriously challenged The works of Austin (1968), Searle (1969), Berlin (1962), and Wolin (1968) attack the strict separation of facts and values ; Suppe (1977), the distinction between observational and theoretical terms ; Quine (1953), the analytic/synthetic distinction ; Popper (1959), the notion that science is an inductive process ; and Schutz (1963), Husserl (1970), and Habermas (1971), the unity of the sciences Ahistorical social science that unreflectively objectifies the social world is shot through with the values of that world Social studies materials based on the product of an unreflective social science tend to reinforce and reproduce those values Such social studies materials exhibit ideological commitments of the institutions being studied Those commitments, whatever their content, will tend to be reinforced if teachers who are largely unaware of these issues fail to adopt a critical stance toward their subject matter Lack of reflection on knowledge claims may also lead to demands for teaching social studies as citizenship transmission focusing on facts and information ; non-critically teaching social science concepts, generalizations, and theories ; or encouraging the introspective consideration of self that is not tied systematically to historical and cultural analysis or to public affairs Knowledge of the social world, by this analysis, has an ideological component, and interpretation and criticism is intended to clarify the valuative aspects of our knowledge claims Social phenomena and the language used to describe them preclude a "value free" social science Furthermore, power relations and some social processes bias and distort the search for truth If these biases and distortions turn the reflective search for truth into a straightforward reporting of observed regularities, the knowledge generated contributes to the reproduction of existing social institutions and relations If this critique is valid the debate over the "relevance" of what is learned in school is not simply a function of topic selection but also of the way topics are treated The absence of a critical component in social studies submerges political and ethical issues as the result of a demand for information that can be settled by appealing to social science authority Social studies education is depoliticized because the political component of information and knowledge is ignored The result is to support 6 2


implicitly the status quo Another term for lack of relevance is depoliticized schooling If social science is viewed as bits or systems of information and knowledge to be conveyed to students, then effective teaching is simply the maximization of some learning function But all knowledge does not conform to the demands of behavioral learning objectives that are sometimes used to specify such a function It is not possible, in principle, to state sufficient conditions for the achievement of all types of learning objectives (Cherryholmes, 1978) The outcome of ethical discourse as well as the interpretation and criticism of social scientific findings, for example, are problematic To treat these topics otherwise is to misrepresent them Therefore, if behavioral learning objectives are employed, one is led either to trivialize or to distort fundamentally certain kinds of content, such as teaching about social justice Considering the past abuse of indiscriminately using behavioral learning objectives to teach all aspects of social studies brings the argument full circle Behavioral learning objectives submerge the ideological component of social science findings into information and "valid and reliable" theories and explanations that are treated as if they were objective and value free This distortion leads to the impression that historically and culturally conditioned institutions and social processes are not only the way the world is but the way it must be A proper outcome of social studies should not merely educate students about social institutions and processes but also help emancipate them from these views of the world and knowledge claims about it The passiveness of the social studies has several dimensions One part is epistemological Because the operative epistemology retains severely attacked positivist assumptions, social knowledge in the social studies is distortive A second and related factor is ideological Critical interpretation of descriptions and explanations is not integral to social studies texts Uncritically treating social processes and institutions as they appear supports "things as they are ." A third factor is the utilization of certain educational technologies, such as behavioral objectives, that encourage the objectification of social phenomena Passiveness and lack of skepticism persists because these views of social phenomena, knowledge, ideology, and educational technology interpenetrate and reinforce each other But schools need not simply reflect and reproduce society Schools may not be powerful enough to revolutionize society but they are certainly not impotent (Giroux, 1979) Social studies educators can move toward critical reflection by acting with the freedom and autonomy they, already possess II To this point it has been argued that social behavior is intentional and its meaning is problematic and not given on the face of things More is involved in the validity of social knowledge than the face validity of its 6 3


claims The meaning of social phenomena requires interpretation and interpretations require criticism if the values and ideologies of institutions and researchers are not to influence strongly knowledge claims that are made But to say all of this is only to outline one of the fundamental problems with which social studies education must contend The manner and mode of interpretation and criticism in curriculum materials and instructional techniques are open questions subject to different interpretations themselves (Cherryholmes, 1980) The remainder of this essay explores one aspect of the problem of interpretation and criticism of social knowledge in the classroom A variety of tacks have been taken in the literature The thinking of Dewey (1938) has been influential in the work of Hullfish and Smith (1961) and Hunt and Metcalf (1968) as one approach to classroom inquiry and interaction Oliver (1957), Oliver and Shaver (1966), and Newmann (1975) represent a related yet different approach The present goal is to spell out an alternative view of classroom discourse that is consistent with the arguments of the previous section and to figure out how a classroom based on those arguments might operate This alternative view of things that is only starting to appear in the American social studies literature (Giroux, 1979 ; Apple, 1971 ; Popkewitz, 1978 ; and Anyon, 1979a) comes from the work of the critical theorists of the Frankfurt School especially from the thinking of Jurgen Habermas In this section Habermas's view of truth, communicative competence, and discourse will be sketched A tentative solution to the problem of what classroom criticism and discourse based on this view of knowledge and society might be is proposed in the following section In brief the question is : what would social studies instruction and classroom interaction that is consistent with Habermas's view of truth, communicative competence, and discourse look like? All normal interaction, Habermas argues, assumes that each party accepts the truth of what is said by the other But the truth of an utterance may be called into question When this happens the validity of the truth claim must be redeemed Habermas's (1970) theory of communicative competence distinguishes between two forms of communication, communicative interaction and discourse Communicative interaction results from a smoothly functioning language game that rests upon four successful validity claims The claims are that the utterance must be understandable, the speaker sincere, the propositional content true, and the performative content successful These are routinely accepted and taken for granted when communicative interaction functions smoothly and they characterize non-dialectical communication and thought But it is possible for any of these claims to be challenged and for the consensus to break down When this happens validity must be reestablished If the utterance is not understood or the sincerity of the speaker is in question, these can be resolved through further communication as meanings and intentions are clarified 6 4


The remaining two claims to validity, Habermas argues, can only be redeemed discursively The purpose of discourse is to resolve the truth of the problematic belief or norm : Discourses help test the truth claims of opinions (and norms) which the speakers no longer take for granted In a discourse, the "force" of the argument is the only permissible compulsion, whereas the cooperative search for truth is the only permissible motive (Habermas, 1973, p 168) Discourse is dialectical communication Discourse points toward institutionality unbound speech acts (Habermas, 1979) The language of normal communication is bound up with the implicit values and commitments of its institutional referents But when utterances employing such language are challenged the assertions can only be weighed and evaluated in discourse The discourse, therefore, has a normative structure that is designed to guard against institutionally bound interpretations or distortions Habermas's consensus theory of truth does not aim at a final characterization of the world Discourse is an on-going process that has no final stage because any utterance purported to be final may be the product of false consciousness ; historically and culturally conditioned institutions and processes may be mistaken for fundamental and unchanging social reality Discourse must be symmetrical and non-dominated All parties to the discourse may initiate comments, challenge assertions, and question not only theoretical formulations but meta-theoretical and meta-ethical frameworks as well Discourse is not bounded It is radically free to allow the best argument to be pursued Strategic behavior is not permitted For example, discourse must not be viewed in terms of conflict or competition and the outcome must not be seen in terms of winning or losing The pursuit of the best argument is the only goal In a discourse one must anticipate the ideal speech act All speech acts imply an intended consensus on that which really is, as distinct from that which subjectively only appears to be . (Habermas, 1970, p 370) The norms of discourse are designed to eliminate constraints that would bias arguments and conclusions Search for truth cannot be separated from an appropriate social structure and social values Wherever these norms and values are absent or distorted the pursuit of truth will be biased This is not fundamentally a new idea Researchers continually make decisions For example, researchers decide about rejecting or failing to reject the null hypothesis that cannot be decided without decision criteria norms, if you will, that include, for example, the form of choosing an 6 5


acceptable alpha level The conventional decision criteria for empirical social research are designed to minimize error and bias Thus, there are norms of publicly presenting one's evidence to make replication possible, accurately reporting research procedures, submitting findings for public comment and criticism, and so on Such norms have long been recognized as functional for controlling error and minimizing bias But these conventional norms treat error and bias in a technical, objectified fashion that separates the researcher from the object of research The institutional setting and language of the research endeavor are not covered by these methodological prescriptions and proscriptions Habermas, on the other hand, does not reduce epistemology to the philosophy of science and he explicitly acknowledges a complex relationship between social scientific research and ideology Discourse must not just be used only to characterize face to face interactions It may also be thought of as a metaphor where the pursuit of truth is conceptualized as an ideal face to face interaction Discourses may be carried on in political commentary, in research journals, or in a classroom Each normative dimension of a discourse is also an ideal type One does not realize ideal goals ; they can only be approached They can be used to monitor discourse As deviations from the ideal are detected, distortions can be expected and predicted If the passiveness and lack of skepticism in the social studies stems from an unquestioning commitment to a flawed epistemology and mistaken view of ideology, then Habermas's arguments present a strong case for restructuring social studies education along the lines of critical reflection and patterning some classroom interactions along the lines of critical discourse Social phenomena are not given but are constituted Social knowledge is not simply an objectively based system of statements to be transmitted to and learned by students The knower cannot validly be separated from the object of social knowledge But what such a reconstructed social studies education would be like can only be built up slowly The concluding section represents an attempt to formulate a preliminary set of conditions necessary for critical classroom discourse III The most striking problem in transforming classroom interaction into discourse is the basic asymmetry in social relationships, that is, the problem of authority There are two ways in which the teacher is an authority in the classroom (Benne, 1970) First, the teacher is an authority by virtue of position Teachers are contractually obligated to provide instruction, to evaluate student progress, to assign grades, and to follow directives of the administration and board of education Any proposed classroom organization and procedure must account for the positional authority of the teacher Second, the teacher is an authority because of greater education, training, and experience The authority of the teacher militates against classroom discourse from ever being completely symmetrical 6 6


and non-dominated Given this, it therefore follows that a first necessary condition for classroom discourse is that the teacher must understand the arguments underlying critical discourse and be committed to it Discourse, obviously, cannot exist without commitment to the norms that define it With this commitment the authority of the teacher will legitimize and support conditions necessary for discourse A second necessary condition is that the teacher must communicate the nature of discourse and his/her commitment to it to the students Either of two general approaches may be taken Secondary students might be directly engaged in a consideration of arguments and epistemological considerations that lead away from a positivist view of knowledge and culture to critical reflection These issues need not be discussed in technical detail Students may, however, be apprised of the fact that social institutions are created, that they reflect values and ideological commitments, and that knowledge about these institutions also reflects many of these ideological components Discourse itself can be shown to be a necessary condition for making true statements Finally, students may be introduced to the norms of discourse : symmetry, non-domination, the right to initiate comments, question assertions, and the right to challenge meta-theoretical and meta-ethical frameworks The teacher must enforce these norms Students should be encouraged to point out deviations from the norms when they see them For younger students it might be more effective simply to use the norms of discourse in guiding classroom discussions, enforcing them as fairly and consistently as possible This is a radical departure from inquiry activities that are mainly cognitive activities focusing on a much narrower range of concern The teacher who opens his/her classroom to discourse should be forewarned that an arbitrary retreat to a conventional classroom format might create feelings of hostility and antagonism All that goes on or should go on in a classroom is not discourse and should not be treated as such Discourse, recalling Habermas's argument, is called for when normal interaction breaks down Normal communication is non-dialectical and discourse is dialectical There must be a combination of the two in the classroom and the mix will certainly vary among students, grade levels, and topics Non-dialectical classroom instruction itself is a necessary condition for discourse Students cannot engage in discourse if they have no information about what it is they are studying whether it be the family, community, government, historical events and developments, cultures and so on They also must have the skills to study them Only when there is a background of information, even if problematic, can the validity of truth claims be called into question A corollary to this is that what the students learn must not objectify social phenomena Along with the obvious, visible characteristics of social relations students must appreciate and understand that there is a 6 7


constellation of values and norms embedded in these empirical regularities Students must learn that many social facts have an ideological component This is the bridge to discourse, the basis for criticism, and the linkage between nondialectic and dialectic Someone must first decide what needs to be known about social phenomena before either normal classroom interaction or critical discourse can take place Learning objectives may even be useful here because it is at this point that necessary conditions for the achievement of a learning objective can be stated (Cherryholmes, 1978) It is when the problematic of interpretation is confronted that learning becomes dialectical and learning objectives become inappropriate because sufficient conditions for critical interpretation cannot be identified Normal classroom interaction is transformed into critical discourse when a truth claim is questioned and rendered problematic This is an important point of intervention for the teacher Sometimes students may question interpretations promoted by textbooks and suggest alternative interpretations themselves This should be encouraged and students should be given help in articulating their views and accumulating evidence to support them But it is not likely that this will happen often and certainly not until students gain experience with the radical openness of critical discourse The teacher can structure the early information that is put before the class Providing alternative interpretations may not be a necessary condition for discourse but it is likely to facilitate criticism The alternative interpretations should account for the source of the information, be clearly argued since clarity of communication itself is a necessary condition for discourse, and present different ideological points of view The latter is crucial because teachers and students are likely to come from a relatively homogeneous setting, homogeneous in terms of social class, culture, race, ethnicity, and locale The more homogeneous the setting the more likely it is that a given set of social beliefs will be treated as unproblematic Critical discourse makes it possible to question those views of the world that are taken as given It is then possible to explore in what ways those views are historically and culturally conditioned This realization will help students learn they are free to help fashion their social world instead of merely accepting it The necessary conditions specified above commitment to the norms of discourse, ensuring that information is available and drawing attention to interpretations bring us to discursive interactions themselves Even as there are generalized norms to evaluate the quality of a discourse, there are criteria to evaluate the quality of arguments that constitute a discourse Habermas relies on the work of Toulmin (1964) Toulmin breaks arguments into the conclusion to be justified, the data that will be used for the justification, the warrant that provides the link between the data and the conclusion, and finally, the backing for the warrant Making and evaluating arguments constitute still another necessary condition 6 8


for discourse All who participate in discourse must be able to distinguish better from worse arguments and have the skill to put together arguments of their own This establishes another connection between non-dialectical thought, the ability to create and evaluate arguments, and dialectical thinking The dialectical component of discourse resides in the freedom to radicalize progressively the argument, that is, the freedom to challenge at successively deeper levels what is claimed to be empirically the case and what normatively should be the case Classroom instruction, then, is neither all dialectical nor non-dialectical but is characterized by a continual movement from one to the other A discourse can only rise above institutional interpretations if there is the freedom to question premises and orientations and the ability to evaluate competently arguments for and against these proposed and questioned interpretations Another necessary condition for classroom discourse is that the interactions cannot be allowed to become competitive or conflictual Strategic behaviors, such as manipulating an agenda, choosing a favorable voting system, selectively using evidence in constructing an argument, are not permitted, for advocacy of specialized interests is out of place in a discourse For example, when the topic concerns public policy decisions a discourse aims at finding the generalized interest This represents a dramatic shift of emphasis from that normally encountered in a pluralistic society Strategic behavior, if allowed, would encourage non-symmetric and dominated communication Another necessary condition for classroom discourse is that all of those in the classroom must be qualified to participate The problem, however, as Habermas makes clear is that not everyone can participate in discourse McCarthy comments on this : . to discourse are admitted only speakers who have, as actors, the same chance to employ representative speech acts, to express their attitudes, feelings, intentions, and so on so that the participants can be truthful in their relations to themselves and can make their inner natures transparent to others (1978, p 307) It seems evident on its face that many students are not prepared to participate in discourse Feelings of apathy, alienation, hostility, and personal insecurity may act to inhibit and distort student participation In these situations the teacher must play a nurturing role The teacher must create a social atmosphere so that students will feel safe in expressing their beliefs and feelings Likewise, the teacher needs to work with students individually not only to develop skills in analyzing and constructing arguments noted earlier but also to overcome personal inhibitions A desirable but not necessary condition for discourse is a heterogeneous classroom Classrooms that are socially, politically, economically, culturally, ethnically, or sexually homogeneous are susceptible to 6 9


institutionally bound interpretations Even though discourse is structured to be open, free and non-dominated it can only range as widely as the insight of those who participate The narrower the range of backgrounds represented places greater demand on imagination and does not take advantage of informational and interpretative resources that students bring with them Heterogeneity gives participants a leverage on institutionally bound interpretations Heterogeneity, however, makes consensual agreement more difficult to achieve Necessary but not sufficient conditions for discourse have been identified The question of sufficient conditions has been avoided and is somewhat off the point Discourse itself must not be objectified, for it is an ideal that can only be approached Discourses vary in quality as they vary in openness, symmetry, non-domination, progressive radicalization of arguments, and so on The necessary conditions already noted constitute conditions for the beginning of discourse If these conditions were met in a thousand classrooms the level of argumentation and criticism would vary widely It is not appropriate to seek determinant sufficient conditions because the ideal end of discourse does not permit them to be stated This theory of discourse does not meet the logical requirements required when one specifies sufficient conditions The task is to continue to elaborate empirically, normatively, and practically necessary conditions for discourse, criticism, and the pursuit of truth in social studies education There is a passiveness in social studies education It has several components : epistemological, social scientific, normative and political, and classroom interactional The problem dealt with here can be stated relatively simply : what view of classroom interaction and criticism is consistent with the critical theorist, specifically Habermas's, critique of positive conceptions of social scientific knowledge A preliminary set of characteristics necessary for classroom criticism and discourse in the critical mode have been proposed They include the teacher's commitment to criticism and discourse, the communication of characteristics and norms of discourse to students, the mutual enforcement of the norms of discourse in the classroom, the movement between non-dialectic and dialectic in classroom interaction, making valid arguments and evaluating the quality of arguments, and searching for alternative interpretations of social phenomena that are critically acceptable 7 0


References Anyon, Jean, "Education, Social `Structure' and the Power of Individuals," Theory and Research in Social Education, VII (Spring, 1979a), No 1, pp 49-60 Anyon, Jean, "Ideology and U .S History Textbooks," Harvard Educational Review 49 (August, 1979b), No 3, pp 361-386 Apple, Michael W ., "The Hidden Curriculum and the Nature of Conflicts," Interchange, 2 (1971), No 4, pp 27-40 Austin, J L ., How to Do Things with Words (New York : Oxford University Press, 1968) Benne, Kenneth, "Authority in Education," Harvard Educational Review 40 (August, 1970), No 3, pp 385-410 Berlin, Isaiah, "Does Political Theory Still Exist?" in Philosophy, Politics and Society Second Series (Oxford : Basil Blackwell, 1962) Bernstein, Richard J ., The Restructuring of Social and Political Theory (New York : Harcourt Brce Jovanovich, 1976) Boudon, Raymond, Education, Opportunity, and Social Inequality (New York : John Wiley and Sons, 1973) Canby, Vincent, "Movies vs TV-The Need for Provocation," New York Times, Sunday, March 16, 1980, Section 2, p 1 Cherryholmes, Cleo H ., "Curriculum Design as a Political Act : Problems and Choices in Teaching Social Justice," Theory and Research in Social Education, VI (December, 1978) No IV, pp 60-82 Cherryholmes, Cleo H ., "Social Knowledge and Citizenship Education : Two Views of Truth and Criticism," Curriculum Inquiry, Volume 10 (1980), No 2, pp 115-141 Dewey, John, Experience and Education (New York : Collier, 1938) Engle, Shirley J ., "Decision Making : The Heart of Social Studies Instruction," Social Education, 24 (1960), pp 301-306 Engle, Shirley J ., and Wilma Longstreet, A Design for Social Education in the Open Curriculum (New York : Harper & Row, 1972) Ezorsky, Gertrude, "Pragmatic Theory of Truth," in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (New York, Macmillan, 1967), Volume 6, pp 427-430 Gillespie, Judith, and Stuart Lazarus, American Government : Comparing Political Experiences (Englewood Cliffs, N .J : Prentice-Hall, Inc ., 1979) Giroux, Henry, "Beyond the Correspondence Theory : Notes on the Dynamics of Education Reproduction and Transformation," (Boston : Boston University, 1979), mimeo Giroux, Henry and Anthony Penna, "Social Education in the Classrooms : The Dynamics of the Hidden Curriculum," Theory and Research in Social Education, VII (Spring, 1979), No 1, pp .1 21-42 Glass, David, Social Mobility in Britain (London : Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1954) 7 1


Habermas, Jurgen, "Towards a Theory of Communicative Competence," Inquiry, 13 (1970), pp 360-375 Habermas, Jurgen, Knowledge and Human Interests Translated by Jeremy Shapiro, (Boston : Beacon Press, 1971) Habermas, Jurgen, "A Postscript to Knowledge and Human Interests," Philosophy of Social Science, 3(1973), pp 157-189 Habermas, Jurgen, "The Analytical Theory of Science and Dialectics," in Theodor Adorno, ed ., The Positivist Dispute in German Sociology (New York : Harper Torchbooks, 1976), pp 131-162) Habermas, Jurgen, Communication and the Evolution of Society, (Boston : Beacon Press, 1979) Hullfish, H Gordon and Philip G Smith, Reflective Thinking : The Method of Education (New York : Dodd Mead, 1961) Hunt, Maurice and Lawrence Metcalf, Teaching High School Social Studies (New York : Harper and Row Publishers, 1968) Husserl, Edmund, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology Translated with an introduction by David Carr (Evanston, IL : Northwestern University Press, 1970) Jencks, Christopher, Inequality : A Reassessment of the Effect of Family and Schooling in America (New York : Basic Books, 1972) McCarthy, T A ., "A Theory of Communicative Competence," Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 3, (1973), pp 135-156 McCarthy, T A ., The Critical Theory of Jurgen Habermas (Cambridge, Mass : MIT Press, 1978) Newmann, Fred M ., Education for Citizen Action (Berkeley, CA : McCutchan Publishing Co ., 1975) Oliver, Donald, "The Selection of Content in the Social Sciences," Harvard Educational Review 27 (1957), pp 271-300 Oliver, Donald and James Shaver, Teaching Public Issues in the High School (Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1966) Pinar, William, "Communication," Educational Researcher, 8 (October, 1979), No 9, pp 6ff Popkewitz, Thomas, "Educational Research : Values and Visions of Social Order," Theory and Research in Social Education, VI (December, 1978), No IV, pp 20-39 Popper, Karl, Conjectures and Refutations : The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (New York : Harper and Row, Publishers, 1965) Prior, A N ., "Correspondence Theory of Truth," in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (New York : Macmillan, 1967), Volume 2, pp 223-232 Quine, W V O ., "Two Dogmas of Empiricism," In From a Logical Point of View (Cambridge, Mass : Harvard University Press, 1953) Searle, John, Speech Acts (Cambridge, G .B : Cambridge University Press, 1969) 7 2


Schutz, Alfred, "Common-sense and Scientific Interpretation of Human Action," in Maurice Natanson, ed ., Philosophy of the Social Sciences : A Reader (New York : Random House, 1963), pp 302-347 Suppe, Frederick, The Structure of Scientific Theories (Chicago : The University of Illinois Press, 1977) Tanner, Daniel, and Laurel Tanner, "Emancipation from Research : the Reconceptualist Prescription," Educational Researcher, 8 (June, 1979) No 6, pp 8-12 Tanner, Daniel, and Laurel Tanner, "Communication," Educational Researcher, 9 (January, 1980), No 1, p 7 van Manen, M J Max, "An Exploration of Alternative Research Orientations in Social Education," Theory and Research in Social Education, III (December, 1975), No 1, pp 1-28 White, Alan R ., "Coherence Theory of Truth," in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (New York : Macmillan, 1967), Volume 2, pp 130-133 Wolin, Sheldon, "Paradigms and Political Theories," in Politics and Experience, ed ., Preston King and B C Parekh, (Cambridge, G .B : Cambridge University Press, 1968) Young, M F D ., "Althusser's Marcism and British Social Science," in Radical Science Journal, (1978) No 6/7 7 3


Theory and Research in Social Education Volume 9 Number 4, Winter 1982, pp 75-89 € by The College and University Faculty Assembly of The National Council for the Social Studies A Question of Generalizability' Max Stephens Education Department, State of Victoria, Australia Critics of field studies have argued that the results of field studies are not generalizable and are, at best, rich idiosyncratic descriptions of teachers' actions The issue is made more complex when some of those who engage in field studies appear reluctant to claim that their findings have any general application, preferring to settle for more limited claims, that, for example, their findings are intended only to be intelligible to those who read them Such disputation and uncertainty leads one to ask how educational researchers define generalizability and how they expect it to be demonstrated In this paper, I will argue that there has been a tendency to limit claims of generalizability to cases where one could demonstrate an appropriate use of sampling theory Those who accept this view have narrowly defined the notion of generalizability in terms of sampling theory, thus reducing the possibility of a science of education These views will be examined in the first part of this paper In the second part, I will discuss the possibility of research producing generalizations which lead to theory This view of generalization will be identified with the interpretation of school events In these uses of generalization in educational research, I will argue that sampling theory is not a necessary condition 'The author wishes to express his appreciation to Kathy Kasten, Penelope Peterson, Tom Popkewitz, Gary Price, and Tom Romberg who made helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper 7 5


At first glance, one may wonder why such questions should arise Surely, it may be argued, field studies are intended to interpret, explain, and produce understanding of the actions being investigated ; and in that sense, the investigations are concerned with making generalizable conclusions Wolcott, for example, in his study Teachers vs Technocrats (1977), sought to explain the effects of a system of planning and communication on teachers in one school district To suggest that Wolcott's analysis of the impact of that innovation may not have any relevance beyond that school district would appear to do an injustice to his intentions The Received View Critics of field studies, however, are unlikely to concede that the possible relevance of a field study to other sites is sufficient to justify a claim to generalizable results It is one thing, they argue, to intend that one's field study has a wider application and explanatory power beyond the sites which comprise it It is an altogether different issue to achieve success in this enterprise According to what may be called the conventional, or received, view, one can generalize with assurance only by ensuring that the instances under investigation are truly representative of the population, and by carefully eliminating bias from the data one has chosen to study The received view has been succinctly articulated by Julian Simon (1978) : A good principle is that you should generalize from your data if you can reasonably regard them as a fair sample of the universe to which you want to generalize Everything that we know about bias in samples, therefore, comes to bear on the problem If the sample was randomly drawn from a universe, then you can infer that what is true of the sample is true of the universe But when the sample is not randomly drawn from the universe, the generalization is certainly not automatic (p 390) In applying his view to an anthropological study such as Wolcott's, Simon can be interpreted as requiring Wolcott to establish that the discovered patterns could be expected to occur, with some measure of confidence, in other sites where similar innovations had been implemented That seems quite a modest requirement to make of Wolcott ; and one which would not force him to argue that exact "carbon copies" of those patterns are likely to occur in other sites, only that similar innovations could be expected to produce similar patterns However, among those who support the received view, there appears to be a more radical critique of the findings of field studies : that, in the absence of controls against bias in sampling, no generalizable conclusions can be drawn from a study in which a single group is investigated as it undergoes change This line of criticism seems to question whether any valid conceptual knowledge can be obtained through a field study of one 7 6


instance Campbell and Stanley (1963), representative of the received view, once argued that field studies "have such a total absence of control as to be of almost no scientific value" ; at best it may be said that field studies are based upon "a tedious collection of specific detail . and involve the error of misplaced precision ." Campbell and Stanley conclude : How much more valuable the study would be if the one set of observations were reduced by half and the saved effort directed to the study in equal detail of an appropriate comparison instance (pp 176-177) Since the time of this pronouncement, the battle lines have been more clearly drawn between those who argue that generalizability is only warranted under conditions of statistical control, and those who claim that field-based studies are an equally potent source of warranted generalizations The following section will outline three lines of attack on the received view Each line of attack focuses, in different ways, on exposing the assumptions embedded in the received view, and argues that, when these assumptions are properly understood, the applicability of the received view to the study of schooling is more limited than its proponents have believed it to be Some Doubts About the Received View One critic is David Hamilton (1981), who asserts that the notion of generalizability as espoused by Simon (1978) and Campbell and Stanley (1963) rests on three assumptions embodied in conventional sampling theory : first, that nature is uniform in time and space ; second, that closed populations can be unambiguously defined ; and third, that the defining characteristics of a population are shared by all its members (p 223) Drawing upon a distinction advanced by Ilyenkov (1977), Hamilton suggests that educational researchers should distinguish between "formal" populations, whose features conform to the above characteristics, and "genetic" populations, whose components are related "not by virtue of their possessing one and the same identical attribute . but by virtue of their arising as diverse modifications of the same substance" (Illyenkov, 1977, p 354) Hamilton argues that schooling can be viewed as a "genetic" phenomenon because it is embedded in an historical, political and ethical context ; and that these features prevent one from applying the assumptions of sampling theory to the study of schooling Not only does the received view of generalizability rest on certain assumptions about the population being studied, as Hamilton (1981) suggests, it seems also to embody a procedural definition of generalizability The results of a study are said to be generalizable because, among other things, the right sampling procedures have been employed This sense of 7 7


generalizability might be called "horizontal" generalizability because it implies that, if the same sampling procedures were performed on another sample from the same population, one would expect to have one's results replicated in the second study This definition of generalizability is therefore related to the use of certain sampling procedures which enable one to attach a quantified estimate of likelihood to the repeatability of one's findings The essential feature of this definition is that it rests on certain notions of probability which enable one to predict how the elements of a sample, and the characteristics they bear, relate to a general population having the same characteristics There are dangers in solidifying one sense of generalizability as it relates to educational research ; and yet it seems that the notion of "horizontal" generalizability is most frequently employed by those, for example, who present conclusions from correlational studies of teaching behavior If "horizontal" generalizability is what these researchers imply when they use the term, then it is clear that the statistical and sampling procedures which are intended to produce repeatability of the results of a study are distinct from the procedures one would use in order to explain the actions and events being studied ; that is, explaining why certain actions by teachers are more effective in helping students to learn Gage (1978), for example, reports several studies of specific variables in teachers' behavior and their effect on pupils' achievement in reading and mathematics in the early grades of elementary school One such study, by Brophy and Evertson (1974), reports that teachers' criticism of wrong answers by pupils is highly correlated with their adjusted achievement in reading If Brophy and Evertson were to explain why teachers' criticism of wrong answers is more effective, in certain contexts, than not criticising their answers, they would need to appeal to other considerations than those they had used to ensure that their results were repeatable The argument about generalizability could indeed rest with this sense of "horizontal" generalizability if researchers limited themselves only to making claims about other samples of the same population or about samples of other populations which bear the same characteristics as the one studied However, they do use generalizations to interpret what has been studied That is, they look beyond the specific situation in ways which simplify that situation, and at the same time link features of that situation to more abstract and general considerations This other sense of generalizability might be called "vertical ." This sense of generalization is the one which I wish to attach to the interpretation of school events I argue that this sense of "vertical" generalization can be aspired to by field studies and by conventional empirical research as well The contrast between "vertical" and "horizontal" generalizability can be illustrated by making a distinction between building interpretative theory and showing that these interpretations are likely to be useful in studying school events For building interpretative theory, 7 8


there may be value in selecting an instance which offers clearly delineated features and telling contrasts as did Wolcott in his study Teachers Versus Technocrats (1977) However, once developed, these interpretations need to have some more general application ; and an investigator will need to convince a skeptical audience that there are grounds for being confident that the features which gave rise to the interpretative theory are likely to be borne out across a range of groups or instances A second line of criticism of the received view has come from researchers who are well-versed in conventional methodology They draw attention to the inadequacies of methodologies for the study of events which have the following "dynamic" features : 1) they involve humans interacting with one another ; 2) they occur over time ; 3) they are concerned with some substantive content ; 4) the content is brought out over time through an interactive process ; and, 5) there is deliberate attempt to combine the first three characteristics into events which have an impact on the participants (cf Romberg and Fox, 1976, p 52) Romberg and Fox (1976) argue that underpinning the conventional search for well-established generalizations are several assumptions which restrict its capacity to deal adequately with dynamic events These assumptions are : 1) that treatment effects are additive ; 2) that treatment effects are constant ; and, 3) that there is no difference between experimental units (cf pp 55-60) From the first assumption, it follows that one can quantify the contribution of all the "variables" ; that one can accurately determine the effect of a treatment on specific criteria by comparing the results of the treatment group with those of a control group, which has received no treatment ; and that the experimental units themselves do not change during the study It is argued that none of the implications of this first assumption applies to the study of dynamic events within schooling In qualifying the second assumption, that treatment effects are constant, Romberg and Fox (1976) argue that, on the contrary, we would expect dynamic events to have different effects on different people : "persons do indeed differ in how they respond to the same information, or the same instructional procedures" (p 60) The third assumption of conventional methodology is that when more than one experimental unit is used, there is no interference or interaction between the units : "investigators have typically assumed that the treatment effect of a class is simply an aggregate of individual effects" (Romberg and Fox, 1976, p 60) This assumption is not warranted since, in the study of dynamic events, interaction between students or teachers is precisely what one would expect to occur Romberg and Fox (1976) point very persuasively to the problems of applying additive models (e .g ANOVA) to dynamic aggregates They do not intend, however, by their criticisms to diminish a concern for appro7 9


priate "horizontal" generalizability Many empirical researchers who form "vertical" generalizations seek to devise ways to check the "horizontal" generalizability of their interpretative theories, not necessarily through sampling theory, but in ways which are consonant with the subtleties of their interpretations, for example, through interrupted time-series analyses (See Romberg & Fox, 1976 .) A third line of attack has come from within social science Homans (1967), for example, has challenged the view that one is not warranted in drawing any general conclusions unless one has employed the methods of statistical sampling and experimental control He argues : What makes a science are its aims, not its results If it aims at establishing more or less general relationships between properties of nature, when the test of the truth of a relationship lies finally in the data themselves and the data are not wholly manufactured when nature, however stretched out on the rack, still has the chance to say "No!"-then the subject is a science (p 4) It needs to be noted, however, that Homans does endorse a deductivist view of explanation as articulated by Hempel (1965), a view which is shared by the proponents of the received view For Homans, what is to be explained needs to be "deduced from, derived from . other propositions, the whole set forming a `deductive system" (p 25) Using the notion of "vertical" generalization, we can interpret Homans as arguing that the findings of educational research are to be explained by showing that they follow "as a logical conclusion, as a deduction, from one or more general propositions under specified given conditions" (p 23) The fact that some findings of correlational research currently lack, as I have said, an appropriate theoretical justification does not diminish the appeal of an ultimate goal of achieving a deductive model of explanation Gage's (1978) advocacy of a "descriptive-correlational-experimental-loop" is motivated with such a goal in mind However, in recent philosophy of science, the deductivist model has itself come under fire Scriven (1962) contends that a philosophical analysis of explanation requires us to attend to all forms of discourse which are counted as explanations and not only to a limited range of scientific discourse Thus, Scriven writes : It seems reasonable to suppose that scientific explanation represents a refinement, rather than a totally different kind of entity from, ordinary explanation In our terms, it is the understanding which is the essential part of an explanation . . We shall argue that good inductive inferability is the only required relation involved in scientific explanations, deduction being a dispensible and overrestrictive requirement which may of course sometimes be met (pp 192-193) Scriven's comments reinforce a view later elaborated by Cronbach (1975) when he questions the assumption that the only goal of educational re8 0


search is "to amass generalizations atop which a theoretical tower can some day be erected ." The implications of this view will be explored later in discussing field studies It does serve, however, to modify Homans' claim that all explanation must be based on a deductive model On the other hand, I think Homans is right to argue that whether generalizations of the "vertical" kind are soundly based depends on their relation to the facts I have argued, moreover, that "horizontal" generalizability is not a necessary condition for the use of generalizations of this latter kind These three positions have been presented to show that the notion of "horizontal" generalizability on which sampling theory is based is inadequate to account for all the purposes which educational researchers bring to making generalizations However, none of these positions, as far as they have been described, develops the idea of "vertical" generalization to any degree, or discusses how this kind of generalization is to be articulated Generalization as Interpretation In this section, it will be argued that field studies and conventional empirical studies each presuppose a theoretical context In any study of school events, the theoretical context of the study will be defined, in part, by the social, political, psychological and ethical beliefs which the investigators bring to that study Unless these assumptions are clearly articulated, there is little chance that warranted "vertical" generalizations will be produced One sense of "vertical" generalization refers to the development of axiomatic theory, or a deductive model of explanation I suggest that the search for this kind of generalization in the study of schooling is unlikely to be successful Another sense of "vertical" generalization applies to those cases where one intends to interpret the events being studied, to related them to more general patterns of action by means of abstract concepts, and so lead to a broader understanding of school events In regard to scientific generalizations, Homans (1967) refers with approval to the statement of Bridgman (1936) that all such propositions are accompanied, explicitly or implicitly by a "text" (see Bridgman, 1936, pp 59-61) In the case of Boyle's Law, which states that the volume of a gas in an enclosed space is inversely proportional to the pressure on it, the "text," or as we might say "context," would include assumptions about the nature of a gas, how pressure is measured, and the conditions under which the relationship was true, i .e under conditions of constant temperature This notion of an implicit context can be used in order to develop some remarks made by Lee Cronbach in his well known address, "Beyond the Two Disciplines of Scientific Psychology" (1975), when he says that generalizations which result from tested hypotheses seem to "decay" with time He continues : 8 1


Our troubles do not arise because human events are in principle unlawful ; man and his creations are part of the natural world The trouble, as I see it, is that we cannot store up generalizations for ultimate assembly into a network It is as if we needed a gross of dry cells to power an engine and could only make one a month The energy would leak out of the first cells before we had half of the battery completed So it is with the posing of our generalizations (p 123) If Cronbach is correct, the notion of generalizability which is at the heart of the received view of educational research is more limited in its capacity to build a "deductive system" than its proponents have argued The reason Cronbach offers for this is that the phenomena under investigation are subject to change His view has clear associations with Ilyenkov's (1977) idea of "genetic" phenomena In this view, our beliefs about schooling will be embedded in a changing context of social, political, psychological and ethical beliefs ; and these beliefs will help to define the theoretical context of schooling in any study Durkheim, in his classic study The Evolution of Educational Thought (1978), argues that dispositions and beliefs of different groups and interests within a society help to shape the kind of education which is deemed appropriate for children As Popkewitz (1981) points out : This occurs neither by conscious design nor conspiracy, yet the way teaching is defined and carried out reflects the social/cultural predicament of a school If schooling has the features of a "genetic" phenomenon, then in order to offer generalizations which interpret the events of schooling, one needs to address those beliefs and dispositions which define schooling and its events within a society Fullan and Pomfret (1977), for example, conclude their extensive review of empirical studies which examined various possible determinants of curriculum implementation with the criticism that Theoretical "explanations" of the social processes that underlie the relationships between many factors are missing Particular determinants may be critical under one set of circumstances while others may be prominent under other conditions The role of specific factors may vary according to the type of innovation and in terms of whether we are viewing implementation from a fidelity or an adaptation perspective (p 390) Their preference to "particular determinants" ought to be read more widely to include the assumptions and beliefs which define curriculum implementation What constitutes curriculum implementation, as an example of a school event, is embedded in assumptions about a teacher's autonomy in selecting and using materials The kind of autonomy which teachers exercise in these areas reflects these beliefs, and is also part of a 8 2


highly complex process involving relationships between users and developers, and among various interest groups within a society I interpret the criticism by Fullan and Pomfret (1977) as supporting my claim that a clear articulation of the theoretical context of a study of schooling is a necessary condition of being able to make interpretations of school events in the form of "vertical" generalizations If it is a fault of some studies that they fail to articulate the theoretical context which underpins the generalizations they seek to develop, an apparent reluctance about making generalizations of any sort is sometimes shown by the authors of field studies It is as though they are so intimidated by the notion of "horizontal" generalizability and its tie to sampling theory that they see themselves as disqualified from using the term altogether Cusick, in his study Inside High School (1973), when confronted by the objection that his study, "dealing with a limited and perhaps unique sample, may be ungeneralizable," seems to back away from the issue of generalizability, and claims only to offer a description of a high school which is intelligible even to those who have never participated (c .f p 231) Not that Cusick refrains from drawing some general conclusions from his study He recommends, for example, that "teachers should be prepared to accept school as a place where conflict is inevitable," and that they should give primary importance to their instructional role (c .f p 226) My response to Cusick is that his study is intelligible only to the extent to which readers can understand those beliefs and assumptions which underlie the practice of high school education in the United States For, despite his disclaimer on the issue of generalizability, Cusick believes that the characteristics which define the social and learning environment of the students at Horatio Gates High School are probably shared by most American high schools These have been elaborated by Wehlage (1981) following Cusick's own listing : 1 Subject matter specialization for teachers and students, 2 Vertical organization of people, with students at the bottom, 3 A doctrine of adolescent inferiority, which denies students initiative and responsibility, 4 Downward communication flow from teachers to students, 5 Batch processing of students by a single teacher, 6 Routinization of activity for students and teachers, 7 Dependence on rules and regulations for students and teachers, 8 Future reward orientation for students, and 9 Supporting physical structure to facilitate the above (p 221 ; c .f Cusick, 1973, pp 208-209) 8 3


Whether each of the above claims is well founded, and whether every detail of Cusick's study is sound, is not implied here What is being argued is that the characteristics which Cusick presents as defining the social and learning environment of Horatio Gates High School already embody interpretations of school events These characteristics are notable as much for introducing all kinds of non-observable perceptions and understandings Nor are they explicable as generalizations derived from evidence which can be described in everyday observable terms (c f Ryan, 1970, p 72) I argue that in his description of the defining characteristics of the social and learning environment of an American high school, Cusick can be seen as using the kind of interpretation which I have called "vertical" generalization His claim that these characteristics are probably shared by most American high schools, although unproved, would, if true, ensure that his interpretations had a wide "horizontal" generalizability In other words, "vertical" generalizations need a certain level of "horizontal" generalizability if they are to be treated as useful theoretical knowledge about schooling Cusick's descriptions, such as "vertical organizations," "batch processing," and "routinization," interpret school events in terms of more general social categories In using categories of descriptions from industrial production and management theory, he is able to interpret school events as having important features in common with these enterprises His argument can be thought of as a kind of "existence proof" ; that is to say, there exist in high schools patterns of actions and events which are well accounted for, not in conventional educational terms, but in the language and discourse of industrial production and management theory It is in this sense that one can depict Cusick's study as aspiring to a kind of "vertical" generalizability Using Cusick's study as an example, I argue that the findings of field studies are generalizable in the "vertical" sense, if the particular events and actions being studied can be interpreted, in terms of a rationally defensible and consistent theoretical framework, as instances of more general categories of social discourse (c .f Tabachnick, 1981) The theoretical framework out of which an investigator works will provide "orienting categories" in terms of which generalizations will be formed Cusick, for example, draws his "orienting categories" from a social interactionist theory of behavior, especially from the work of Blumer (1969) While other field studies may adopt a somewhat different theoretical framework from that used by Cusick, field studies, in general, reflect a common interest in documenting and interpreting the intentional decisions of the parties engaged in the actions and events being studied, and to the intersubjective agreements shared among the participants This common approach undertaken by those who employ field studies in educational research is supported by social theorists such as Bernstein (1978) In Bernstein's view, we cannot divide social phenomena into two 8 4


simple categories : that which is publicly observable, on the one hand, and that which is merely private and subjective, on the other-as though in seeking to develop interpretive generalizations about schooling we need to concentrate only on the first category, and can afford to disregard the second Bernstein continues : Human actions cannot be properly identified, described, or understood unless we take account of the intentional descriptions, the meanings such actions have for the agents involved, the ways which they interpret their own actions and the actions of others These intentional descriptions, meanings, and interpretations are not merely subjective states of mind which can be correlated with external behavior ; they are constitutive of the activities and practices of our social and political lives (pp 229-230) If the beliefs people have about a given activity, and their understanding of the rules surrounding that activity, help to determine their actions, any interpretation of their actions will need to address their beliefs and shared understandings Bernstein's (1978) position is supported by Ryan (1970) He argues that the fact that people's beliefs and perceptions of shared rules help to shape and are constitutive of what they do seems to damage the objectivity of social theory in the following sense : people following rules and choosing what to do for the appropriate reasons only make the choices as they do because they hold certain beliefs about the point and purpose of what they are doing (p 238) While this kind of theoretical position offers support to those who choose to adopt a field-study approach to educational research, there are, as Ryan points out, some uncomfortable consequences of this position Those who undertake a field study of school events bring their own beliefs and assumptions about schooling to their study They will also share a range of intersubjective agreements about schooling with those whose actions are being studied But there can be no ready-made and simple distinction between actors and observers, for the observer/researcher is an actor also insofar as he/she is reading from a "text ." If one allows only those who are, prima facie, actors to contribute to the development of generalization and theory, this would result in an uncritical account of the psychological, ideological and social preoccupations of the actors On the other hand, if the observer has the last say, is one thereby disregarding the rationality of the actors? Even if the actors and observers should agree in their descriptions, does this show any more than that both parties are kindred spirits (c .f Ryan, 1970, p 238)? The path to resolving this problem is not that of gathering up more opinions to support one side over the other There is a sense in which the "facts" can help one's case, and so free the field-based researcher from 8 5


an endless regress into subjectivity The beliefs of the actors are, as Bernstein has reminded us, not simply mental entities ; they are constitutive of people's activities and practices, and therefore imply beliefs about the consequences of each other's actions Thus, people's beliefs can be tested and interpreted in the light of the events which follow Appraising Interpretative Generalizations When conventional empirical studies claim some measure of "horizontal" generalizability for their results, these claims presuppose that certain sampling procedures have been used While there are no procedural checks to ensure that "vertical" generalizations embody sound interpretations of the events being studied, these interpretations need to be checked with other facts about those events (c .f Homans, 1967) ; and, at the same time, critical appraisal will need to be directed at the rationality and consistency of the theoretical framework employed by the investigator The theoretical framework of a field study will provide the "orienting categories" upon which an investigator will develop interpretations of events and actions Tabachnick (1981) has argued that these orienting categories, unlike the operational categories of conventional empirical research, are "open to change and development as a result of encountering the action being studied" (p 84) That this should be so is not a sign of theoretical weakness, but rather a direct result of the purposes one brings to a field study If one aims to look beyond the particular events and actions in ways which simplify them, and at the same time link them to more abstract categories of social behavior, then, even if one had a consistent theoretical framework interpretation, one cannot determine in advance how that theoretical framework would apply to the particular events being studied, or whether all aspects of the theory were equally relevant to those events Furthermore, one might also be led to modify one's theoretical framework in the light of the events themselves For these reasons, the orienting categories which an investigator brings to a field study apply in a different manner than the operational categories of conventional empirical studies Interpretation and Practical Discourse What are the uses of these interpretive generalizations which might be produced by field studies? These generalizations are useful in developing an understanding of school events If they are successful in linking our understanding of school events to more general categories of social behavior, then that enterprise does not need any further justification However, there is another sense in which one can be said to interpret events : they can be interpreted in ways which make certain kinds of actions, certain responses to those events reasonable Very often one interprets events in political, or social, or ethical terms in order to justify a 8 6


particular response to those events In this sense, the interpretative generalizations of field studies can be intended to serve as a guide to practical action When used in this way, they become part of one's practical discourse about schooling If, as I argued earlier, the beliefs which people hold about what they do are constitutive of the practices of their social and political lives, then to lead people to interpret their actions differently gives them a reason for acting differently Thus, the teachers whom Cusick studied might be led to see themselves as helping to maintain a division of knowledge into artificially discrete subject areas or as helping to perpetuate beliefs about the inability of adolescents to take initiative and responsibility for their own learning Having accepted these interpretations of their actions, the teachers can choose whether to modify their actions and practices in the light of this understanding The fact that the findings of field studies can serve to provide reasons for action is evidence of their generalizability Descriptions which are entirely particular cannot serve as reasons for action They can serve as reasons only when they relate the particular action to categories of political, or social, or ethical behavior which a person judges to be worthwhile and desirable Conclusion In this paper I have argued that the findings of field studies can be generalizable Most typically, these generalizations take the form of interpretations of the specific events and actions being studied, and are intended to link these events and actions to more general descriptions of social behavior If these interpretative generalizations are to be useful, a reader needs to be convinced that similar interpretations are likely to apply to instances which can be identified as similar to the cases studied That is another enterprise which needs to be addressed by those who use field studies to generate theoretical knowledge about school events However, in a particular study, whether the enterprise of building interpretive generalizations is successful will depend on the accuracy of one's observations and upon the rationality and consistency of the theoretical framework which one brings to that study ; especially in the form of orienting categories derived from that framework Where these are lacking, or not well developed, an investigator runs the risk of offering no more than a rich description of particular events and actions ; and will have to head off the charge that the study involves an error of "misplaced precision ." But where a consistent and rationally defensible framework has been employed, investigators should not be intimidated by critics of field studies who define generalizability in terms of sampling theory I have argued that there is another sense in which one can aim to develop generalizable findings, for which sampling theory is not a necessary condition Generalizations in this other sense can be developed by conventional empirical studies and by field studies equally well 8 7


References Bernstein, R J The restructuring of social and political theory Philadelphia, PA : University of Pennsylvania Press, 1978 Blumer, H Symbolic Interactionism : perspective and method Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey : Prentice Hall, 1969 Bridgman, P W The nature of physical theory Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 1936 Brophy, J & Evertson, C Process product correlation in the Texas Teacher Effectiveness Study : final report (Research Report No 74-4) Austin : Research and Development Center for Teacher Education, University of Texas, 1974 Brown, H I Perception theory and commitment Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, 1977 Campbell, D T & Stanley, J C Experimental and quasi-experimental design for research Chicago : Rand McNally, 1963 Cronbach, L J Beyond the two disciplines of scientific psychology American Psychologist, 1975, 30(2), 116-127 Cusick, P A Inside high school New York : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973 Durkheim, E The evolution of educational thought : Lectures on the development of secondary education in France P Collins (traps .) London : Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1977 Fullan, M & Pomfret, A Research on curriculum and instruction implementation Review of Educational Research, 1977, 41(1), 335-397 Gage, N L The scientific basis of the art of teaching New York : Teachers College Press, Columbia University, 1978 Habermas, J Towards a rational society J Shapiro (traps .) Boston : Beacon Press, 1970 Habermas, J Theory and practice Boston : Beacon Press, 1973 Hamilton, D Adam Smith and the moral economy of the classroom system Journal of Curriculum Studies 1980 12(4), pp 281-298 Hamilton, D Generalization in the educational sciences : Problems and purposes In T S Popkewitz & B R Tabachnick (Eds .), The study of schooling : Field based methodologies in educational research and evaluation New York : Praeger, 1981 Hempel, C H Aspects of scientific explanation New York : The Free Press, 1965 Homans, G The nature of social science New York : Harcourt, Brace and World, 1967 Ilyenkov, E V Dialectical logic Moscow : Progress Publishers, 1977 Popkewitz, T S "Contexts, schooling, and classroom life ." Journal of Curriculum Studies Romberg, T A & Fox, T Problems in analyzing dynamic events within teacher education (Technical Report No 20) Madison : 1975, CMTI Impact Study sponsored by Teacher Corps, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1976 8 8


Ryan, A The philosophy of the social sciences London : Macmillan, 1970 Schrag, F Why psychology is not useful Unpublished paper Madison : University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1980 Scriven, M Explanations, predictions, and laws In H Feigl and G Maxwell (Eds .), Minnesota studies in the philosophy of science, III Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 1962 Simon, J L Basic research methods in social sciences (2nd edition) New York : Random House, 1978 Tabachnick, B R Teacher education as a set of dynamic social events In B R Tabachnick, T S Popkewitz & B B Szekely (Eds .), Studying teaching and learning : Trends in Soviet and American research New York : Praeger, 1981 Wehlage, G The purpose of generalization in field-study research In T S Popkewitz & B R Tabachnick (Eds .), The study of schooling : Field based methodologies in educational research and evaluation New York : Praeger, 1981 8 9


Theory and Research in Social Education Volume 9 Number 4, Winter 1982, pp 91-103 €by The College and University Faculty Assembly of The National Council for the Social Studies Probing the Connection between Modes of Language and Curriculum Theorizing in Social Studies Angene H Wilson The University of Kentucky A college of education faculty was asked by a teachers' organization to provide a two-day workshop to help teachers "in the trenches" prepare "to survive the battle" of the coming school year The faculty members, accustomed to teaching about growth and development and to using what might be called garden language, were rather shocked by the metaphor of the teachers' request This article, asserting that the languages we use are basic and different, is an exploratory probe into the connections between language, curriculum theory, and social studies Language is defined as the words and images educators use when they talk and write Curriculum theory may lean toward a scientific statement of what is or it may lean toward a philosophical sttement of what ought to be (McCrory, 1981) Huebner writes that theory is "rooted in the language we use to talk about what we do, and it is this language web which must be our starting point ." His description of various modes of language in "The Tasks of the Curricular Theorist" (Pinar, 1975) seems to have relevance for social studies educators as they try to develop theory In this article, Huebner's six modes of language descriptive, explanatory, controlling, legitimating, prescriptive, and affiliative will be related to social studies and implications for theorizing will be briefly suggested 91


There will be, of course, overlapping of categories of language Thus, some examples might fit in more than one category or mode Some might argue that instructional objectives are mostly explanatory or that they are really prescriptive Legitimating language may also be affiliative The point here is not to declare rigid boundaries, but to provoke thinking about different uses of language and speculate about the possible impact on theory-building The author will draw heavily on Theory and Research in Social Education articles and National Council for Social Studies publications, as well as personal experiences and interests for examples Descriptive Language Teachers talk in a descriptive way about what they do, did, or plan to do in their classrooms For example, a second grade teacher, whose sixweek trip to Nigeria inspired him to turn his classroom into a museum which the whole school visited, describes with enthusiasm how much his students have learned about Nigeria "Jonathan narrated my slides for the fourth graders and some parents He even pointed out things I hadn't seen, like the telephone wires And did you notice the words the kids came up with when I asked how Nigeria and Kentucky were alike coal, cars, schools, houses, horses?" With similar enthusiasm, a secondary student teacher describes her best lesson of the week in which students researched various New Deal programs, discussed the current administration feeling about each program still in existence, and wondered about the huge growth of government good, bad, necessary? Descriptive language, then, may be the ordinary sharing of daily classroom events good times and bad in the narrative of conversation It can also take the form of a matrix whose deciphered codes describe the interaction between teacher and class or students within a group (Hough and Duncan, 1970) Or it may be poetic, as in the following descriptive language of Denton (1972, pp 58-59) : The class members sat in the middle of the floor while the sound of two tape recorders and the projections from two movie and three slide projectors played over, on, into, and for them It seemed that every imaginable element of inner-city life and suburban living had been captured and thrown into juxtaposition being well fed/going hungry vermin free/rat infested shiny bicycles/rusty-nailed carts warm houses/cold apartments space/alleys green grass/oily pavement pretty play clothes/raggy handmedowns new cars/banged-up heaps 9 2


multi-bathrooms/a hole at the end of the hall supermarkets/dilapidated stores laughter/stony silence and on and on and on and on and on this came at us in microsecond intervals for forty minutes We were getting rung out And, then, when it appeared that we could take it no longer, that another moment would yield screams, there were sounds of a nuclear explosion, with corresponding images given forth by all five projectors-silence, blessed silence-then shock and dismay, for on all the screens was one image, that of a totally destroyed city No, the students didn't like it, but, for days afterwards, that classroom was a center for intense inquiry, argumentation, and soul-searching Social studies was alive and very well That dissonance which opens possibilities for becoming new persons dissonated through the space Who is the teacher? the Dissonator Finally, descriptive language may be imaginery, as a scenario for a social studies classroom of the year 2000 that would serve as base camp for various student forays into the community to do oral history, intern in a local social agency, and participate in a state legislator's campaign As Huebner points out, "descriptive language can be a link between a reality and an image or a dream ; between a present and a future or a future and a past" (Pinar, 1975, p 254) Descriptive language is an especially important basis for theory It grounds that theory in the real world For example, McCutcheon's research on elementary teachers' planning for social studies (1981) describes how teachers actually plan She suggests that descriptive studies focusing on how practical problems are solved may help develop theories regarding the process as opposed to the procedure of decision-making in teaching Another potentially useful descriptive project might be life histories of teachers who teach from a global perspective Such life histories might provide clues for a theory about the global education of teachers The imaginary description is valuable for theorists who want to construct a model of the ideal For instance, Anderson (1979) has written a futuristic scenario of how a global school might be organized Explanatory Language Descriptive language begins to tread on the heels of explanatory language when it wonders why Huebner writes : "Descriptive language permits one to skate linguistically over the surface of events and phenomena, whereas explanatory talk digs below the surface Explanatory language seeks to explain why something occurs or how it occurs It 9 3

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is usually concerned with postulated concepts and inferred relationships" (Pinar, 1975, p 254) Huebner goes on to point out that curriculum people frequently attempt to use explanatory language to describe It is one thing to describe the second graders in their Nigerian museum classroom It is another thing to explain how the activities they engaged in using Nigerian primary school reading books for two weeks, for instance contributed to the objective of discovering Nigeria's similarities to the United States The most valid explanatory language is that which arrives at explanations after hypothesizing and gathering data Again in the second grade classroom, the teacher hypothesizes : my students can learn responsibility and content knowledge by acting as guides in the Nigerian museum The sixth graders will learn more from our classroom museum than the other grades because their teachers have prepared special study guides The multiple visits of the Foreign Curriculum Consultant from Nigeria are more effective than one-time visits by international guests Now he must gather data to prove or disprove his hypotheses Research reports in this journal are good examples of explanatory language For instance, Jennings and Ehman (1976) summarize their study, entitled "Political Attitudes of Parents and Social Studies Teachers : Comparisons and Linkages," by stating that "in general the differences between parents and teachers are not large ." Their findings show both social studies teachers and parents of equal education are obedient, loyal, and passive in the political arena, leading to the conclusion that the citizenship training function carried out in the high school classroom will not be radically different from that carried out by parents In a study of the effect of the Family of Man social studies program on third grade children's views of foreign peoples, Mitsakos (1978) concludes that children who participate in a carefully designed program with a strong global education dimension develop a more positive attitude toward foreign peoples The experimental group had a more favorable view of foreign peoples according to their performance on a People Pictures test and used more positive adjectives in a Describing Nations instrument Another elementary study (Herman, 1977) shows a relationship between activities, teacher talk, children's interest in social studies, and ability level of the class Herman writes : As the ability level of the class decreased, teachers were more direct in their verbal behavior, they dominated instruction with more teacher-centered activities, and children generally gave social studies a low rating The teachers of high ability classes were indirect, employed more pupil-centered activities than did teachers of the average and below average groups, and nearly half of their children gave social studies a high rating (p 56) 9 4

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Out of such explanatory language can develop theory about how citizenship and global education happen and theory about effective social studies teaching One problem with explanatory language is that it is sometimes farther away from practical teacher concerns than descriptive language since explanatory language often begins with hypotheses of university faculty rather than those classroom teachers might formulate Sometimes, as well, there is a paucity of looking before the sequence of hypothesizing, testing, and concluding Controlling Language Controlling language puts together descriptive and explanatory languages in order to manipulate and predict behavior Instructional objectives are examples of controlling language because they describe the student behavior which will be accepted as evidence that the student has learned They describe how and explain why learning should happen, though of course it is possible the objective will not describe what actually happens in the classroom The objective deals with "should" and "ought" and "will ." The objective "Students will describe at least four techniques that they could apply during group d iscussions t o ensure that every student who wants to gets a chance to participate" (Hough and Duncan, 1970, p 60) is controlling language Another illustration in the cognitive domain is : Using prepared criteria for judging the objectivity of news stories, the students will state in writing which of the two reports of the same international event is more objective and state how they used specific criteria in arriving at that judgment (Hough and Duncan, 1970, p 105) Affective objectives can also be quite precise, as in : Students will orally state how increased awareness of their feelings about members of a social minority has caused them to re-evaluate their beliefs about such minority groups and their contribution to American culture (Hough and Duncan, 1970, p 76) Ideally, Hough and Duncan see a teacher offering to instruct in such a way as to facilitate student learning and the student then agreeing to learn They see the instructional objective as a contract Even with student aquiescence or input, however, the objective remains controlling language which predicts what will happen Out of controlling language grow theories about what should or ought to take place in the social studies classroom, not just with students but also teachers The descriptive and explanatory languages may be utilized and transformed into controlling language The theory-building becomes less tentative Now there may be a universal model or several 9 5

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competing models against which practice can be measured Such models may be very helpful, and theory indeed may be translated into practice Hopefully, that equation has been reversed earlier and practice has also informed the theorizing Legitimating Language Huebner suggests that if the languages used were only those of description, explanation, or control, then analysis would be fairly simple since those forms of language are common to scientific and technological endeavors (Pinar, 1975, p 255) However, persons engaged in curriculum also use legitimating language They try to rationalize their actions for the judging group, which may be the local community in which a school is located or a scholarly community to which social studies educators relate Perhaps the most common sort of legitimating language in social studies is that used to tie social studies to the general purpose of preparing good citizens Thus, traditionally, social studies educators have tied together democracy and their particular curricular domain Even a Problems of Democracy course in the 1950s, which might have had as one important goal the teaching of reflective thinking, was taught in a citizenship context American history, especially, was seen as a course or series of courses through which certain values would be transmitted As the very vocal moral minority currently gains increasing strength in local communities, the legitimating language of citizenship as recently set forth in the National Council for Social Studies' Essentials of Social Studies becomes particularly relevant and important In that brief document, a quotation from Thomas Jefferson sets the tone Democratic beliefs are described, with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution designated as sources The closing challenge again refers to the Constitution, asking : As we approach the bicentennial of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, is it not time for us to recommit ourselves as a nation to strong education for civic responsibility? In the 1960s the so-called new social studies used a different legitimating language from the traditional and now revitalized citizenship rationale Bruner had written The Process of Education, the disciplines of the social sciences were kings, and the goals of social studies were related to learning their concepts and processes The introduction to the teaching plan for the Anthropology Project used phrases like "intellectual operations," "inquiry process," "original analysis of the data," and "acquisition of social science tools and attitudes ." The simulation DIG had as a major purpose for students to experience how it feels to be an archaeologist The Sociological Resources for the Social Studies chose to focus on concepts such as leadership, social mobility, and migration These broad concepts were broken down into sub-concepts so a student 9 6

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was expected to learn the difference between the terms "residential mobility" and "internal migration ." The Geography of Cities Unit of the High School Geography Project asked students to play geographer and select settlement sites, prepare site diagrams, and predict urban growth It would be interesting to write a history of the legitimating language used for the social studies, particularly as that language relates to citizenship What is Dewey's contribution to that language, for example? What is the contribution of founding documents and fathers? How does the current imagery of cultural diversity fit in? How is legitimating language and thus the theory which grows out of it related to the particular milieu, times, even person? Most importantly, to what degree are we aware of the cultural apparatus of our lives? To what degree are we self-conscious about our interpretive projects (Said, 1981)? Prescriptive Language Prescriptive language goes beyond legitimating language to take action and to influence others Prescriptive language is imperative and commanding and political in nature In 1975, the Chief State School officers, for example, prescribed the following goals for Citizenship Education : 1 The effective citizens should demonstrate concern for the wellbeing and dignity of self, family, and others 2 The effective citizen should support the concept of governance by law and oppose unjust applications 3 The effective citizen should support rights and freedoms important for human development 4 The effective citizen should understand the structure, functions, and actual processes of governments 5 The effective citizen should understand that civic action is essential and should participate actively in civic improvement 6 The effective citizen should have understanding of and concern for world, national, state, and local civic issues 7 The effective good citizen should use rational processes when making civic decisions Another .longer and much more specific but very similar list of goals which also begins "The effective citizen should . ." was disseminated by the Commission of the States for the National Assessment of Social Studies/Citizenship in 1979 In 1971 the National Council for the Social Studies put out guidelines for social studies programs Although the text specifically states that they are not intended to prescribe a uniform program or even to propose an ideal program, the guidelines are "should" statements, including : 9 7

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9 8 1 The Social Studies Program should be directly related to the concerns of the students 2 The Social Studies Program should deal with the real social world 3 The Social Studies Program should draw from currently valid knowledge representative of man's experience, culture, and beliefs 4 Objectives should be thoughtfully selected and clearly stated in such form as to furnish direction to the program 5 Learning activities should engage the student directly and actively in the learning process 6 Strategies of instruction and learning activities should rely on a broad range of learning resources 7 The Social Studies Program must facilitate the organization of experience 8 Evaluation should be useful, systematic, comprehensive, and valid for the objectives of the program 19 Social Studies Education should receive vigorous support as a vital and responsible part of the school program It is interesting to note that citizenship is not mentioned in the 1971 guidelines Of the three approaches to social studies defined by Barr, Barth, and Shermis, reflective thinking or analysis of social issues seems ascendant in the 1971 NCSS document as citizenship is in the 1980 Essentials of Social Studies and as the social sciences were in the so-called new social studies projects mentioned earlier There are also other more directly political situations in which prescriptive language may be used A leader in the social studies field may make a plea for support of those in trouble because of academic censorship, or an individual social studies educator may write a member of Congress to urge support for international education and quote the following rhetoric from the President's Commission of International Education : Nothing less is at issue than the nation's security At a time when the resurgent forces of nationalism and of ethnic and linguistic consciousness so directly affect global realities, the United States requires far more reliable capacities to communicate with its allies, analyze the behavior of potential adversaries, and earn the trust and sympathies of the uncommitted . . National security, moreover, cannot safely be defined and protected within the narrow framework of defense, diplomacy, and economics A nation's welfare depends in large measure on the intellectual and psychological strengths that are derived from perceptive visions of the world beyond its own boundaries

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Prescriptive language may more often be the starting point for philosophical as opposed to scientific theorizing "The effective good citizen should use rational, processes when making civic decisions" objective may be more likely to inspire a boxes chart of decision-making as it ought to be than a description of how citizens decided in actual case studies, though obviously the former could result from the latter What seems most important is the theorizer's self-consciousness about the fact that language is prescriptive rather than another mode Affiliative Language Huebner's last category refers to the use of languages that serve as a symbol of cohesiveness or of membership in a particular community Huebner suggests that the use of behavioral science language is an attempt by educators to affiliate with the social science community : "Scientific technical language has more cash value in today's economic and political spheres" (Pinar, 1975, p 259) Educational slogans can also symbolize membership in a particular community There are code phrases that, if used, immediately establish one's biases or bases Thus, one educator may speak of "inputs and outputs" while another speaks of "meeting the needs of the whole child ." The tendency of social studies educators to use social science language in social studies content during the era of the so-called New Social Studies has already been mentioned under legitimating language In more recent years there have been scattered attempts to talk about social studies curricula from other perspectives Michael Apple, for example, sees education as moral and political activity As a critic of both schools and society, he has looked at the treatment of conflict in social studies curricula and discovered it is usually viewed as dysfunctional (Pinar, 1975) Since Apple's article, the proponents of global education have included "conflict" as one of four major concepts to be studied, but how it is studied is still an important issue Do students learn, for instance, that conflict, as in the civil rights movements for blacks and women, can be law-creating? Some current law-related education materials deal with the concept of justice but others concentrate primarily on understanding, obeying, and using law Giroux and Penna (1979), who also view schools within the context of the larger society, use a neo-Marxist approach to "illuminate how social reproduction is linked to classroom social relationships and how the construction of knowledge is related to the notion of false consciousness ." After describing the hidden curriculum which contradicts the official curriculum (e .g teaching about democracy in authoritarian classrooms), Giroux and Penna offer suggestions for change, including elimination of tracking and introduction of peer-leaders and self-pacing 9 9

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A rarely used language has been that of the theologian Johns (1978), however, uses Buber's description of the I-Thou relationship to buttress his image of man-in-dialogue as the most appropriate image for global minded-citizenship For Buber, according to Johns, real living, is I-Thou, which means in its fullest sense, persons responding with a total continuing commitment to each other as persons Only by responding in this way-by giving oneself fully to others one can achieve the highest degree of responsibility and fulfillment People find themselves by losing themselves in others For Buber, it is in these special I-Thou moments that one is responding not only to companions but to the "eternal Thou," or God Buber's concept of the moral society would be personcentered, a community in which I-Thou relationships predominate Johns goes on, after gathering support from other disciplines as well, to paint a picture of homo dialogicus acting openly and responsibly in the world community Phenomenology is a third example of a little-used affiliative language This author (1977) drew on phenomenology to develop a philosophy for intercultural education, suggesting that phenomenology's emphasis on bracketing, perspective, wide-awakeness, and personal meaning-making made it an especially appropriate basis for learning about other people Another language worth borrowing might be that of ecology The concept of interdependence, applied not only to a textbook vision of the world, but also to the way in which the vision is taught could reform the factory-type school Education might become a common adventure in which teachers and students depend on each other to choose learning topics within an interdisciplinary framework and also depend on each other to run the school through a town meeting and maintain the school through shared janitorial services (Wilson, 1978) Huebner identifies as a major theoretical problem : "finding, creating, or borrowing a language which can be used to describe and explain human events in education situations ." He suggests, for instance, that "writers, using story, novel or hypothetical form, can describe students and teachers in new and strange environments, in the manner of good science fiction" (Pinar, 1975, p 265) Social studies educators clearly need to be open to a variety of affiliative languages as bases for theory-building, if only because richer theory will result The language of behavioral science is a useful and often used basis for theorizing The language of science fiction could be valuable, too Certainly languages which allow us to visit with the persons in the classroom as opposed to "mapping" the classroom activities are rarely used 1 0 0

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Conclusion Finally, this author asserts that the language we use as teachers and researchers and whether we are aware of that language choice and use matters There is a difference between the retired Army Colonel who presents history as an exciting multi-media narrative and Denton's Dissonator There is a difference between the military or factory metaphor for school and the garden and travel metaphors It is more complicated than .that simple contrast, however For language, very often a web of languages, composed at times of criss-crossing, even tangled languages, is the starting point for the theory, whether that be the personal theorizing of an individual teacher or the more general theorizing of the researcher What would the language web of one social studies educator, heading toward theory-building, look like? It might draw heavily on descriptive language first, looking at the kinds of cross-cultural experiences teachers and students bring to social studies classrooms and the kinds of crosscultural experiences that can happen in classrooms Another strand would be explanatory language from studies of the impact of crosscultural experience on high school students, teachers, Peace Corps volunteers, and others Hanvey's descriptive language concerning a global perspective which includes a perspective consciousness and a crosscultural awareness might become legitimating language Dewey's stress on the connection between experience and education is also relevant Perhaps theology, ecology, and phenomenology would represent helpful affiliative languages Out of such a language web would come some theorizing about the meaning of cross-cultural experiences for education Out of other language webs would come other theorizing, even on the same topic Perhaps Huebner's language web could be likened to a compost heap The leaves, the grass, the faded flowers from the vase, the carrot and beet tops from the garden are all mixed together They rot and ferment and form compost which goes on the garden to fertilize the growth of new plants Language may be the compost out of which our theorizing grows What opportunities await 1 0 1

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References Anderson, Lee Schooling and Citizenship in a Global Age Bloomington, Indiana : Social Studies Development Center, 1979 Apple, Michael "The Hidden Curriculum and the Nature of Conflict," in Curriculum Theorizing e d b y William Pinar, Berkeley, CA : McCutchen, 1975 Barr, Robert D ., Berth, James, and Shermis, S Samuel Defining the Social Studies, National Council for the Social Studies, Bulletin 51, 1977 Denton, David Existential Reflections on Teaching North Quincy, MA : Christopher, 1972 Eisner, Elliot W The Educational Imagination New York : Macmillan, 1979 "Episodes in Social Inquiry" of Sociological Resources for Social Studies, Boston : Allyn and Bacon, 1972 Essentials of the Social Studies, National Council for the Social Studies, Washington, D .C ., 1980 "Geography of Cities" in High School Geography Project, Macmillan, 1965 Giroux, Henry A and Penna, Anthony N "Social Education in the Classroom" The Dynamics of Hidden Curriculum ." Theory and Research in Social Education (Spring, 1979), pp 21-42 Herman, Wayne L Jr "Teacher Behavior in Elementary Social Studies," Theory and Research in Social Education (December, 1977), pp 39-63 Hough, John B and Duncan, James K Teaching : Description and Analysis Reading, MA : Addison-Wesley, 1970 Huebner, Dwayne "The Tasks of the Curricular Theorist" in Curriculum Theorizing : The Reconceptualists, e d b y William Pinar, Berkeley, CA : McCutchen, 1975 Jennings, M Kent, and Ehrman, Lee H "Political Attitudes of Parents and Social Studies Teachers : Comparisons and Linkages," Theory and Research in Social Education (August, 1976), pp 67-83 Johns, Robert W "Man in Dialogue : An Image for Global-Minded Citizenship ." Theory and Research in Social Education (June, 1978), pp 1-25 1 Kliebard, Herbert M "Metaphorical Roots of Curriculum Design" in Curriculum Theorizing : The Reconceptualists, e d b y William Pinar, Berkeley, CA : McCutchen, 1975 Lipetzkey, Jerry DIG, an archeological simulation, Lakeside, CA : Interact, 1969 McCrory, David L "A Map of the Concept of Curriculum Theory ." Journal of Curriculum Theorizing (Winter, 1981), pp 91-102 McCutcheon, Gail "Elementary School Teachers' Planning for Social Studies and Other Subjects ." Theory and Research in Social Education (Spring, 1981), pp 45-66 Mitsakos, Charles L "A Global Education Program Can Make a Difference ." Theory and Research in Social Education (March, 1978), pp 1-15 Said, Edward W Covering Islam New York : Pantheon, 1981 1 0 2

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Social Studies Curriculum Guidelines, National Council for Social Studies, 1971 Teaching Plan "Modernization and Traditional Societies" in Anthropology Curriculum Study Project, New York : Macmillan, 1971 Wilson, Angene "A Philosophy of Intercultural Schooling ." Theory and Research in Social Education (April, 1977) pp 7-18 . Small is Beautiful, Voluntary Simplicity and Schools Contemporary Education, Winter, 1980 Worthington, Helen Character Education State Department of Kentucky, 1977 . Citizenship 2205 State Department of Kentucky, 1979 1 0 3

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Theory and Research in Social Education Volume 9 Number 4, Winter 1982, pp 105-111 €by The College and University Faculty Assembly of The National Council for the Social Studies Reaction/Response Moral Education and Transfer from the classroom into the world and from one generation to the next Daniel Pekarsky The University of Wisconsin-Madison Introduction In his essay "Moral Dilemmas and Moral Education," which appeared in the summer issue of this volume, Daniel R Nicholes develops a critique of an essay of mine by the same title that appeared in an earlier issue of this journal (Pekarsky, 1980) I want to respond to his criticisms for two reasons The first is that he seriously misunderstands and misrepresents my position ; -the second is that his rationale for a dilemmacentered approach to moral education seems to me inadequate I shall expand on both these points below I would like to say at the outset that although I am not convinced by much of what Nicholes has to say in his critique, I found his thoughtful essay very useful in helping me to clarify and develop my own views regarding moral education, and I am very appreciative of the careful reading he gave my original essay I In this section I want to respond briefly to three fairly specific points of disagreement or misunderstanding between Nicholes and myself, reserving for Sections II and III a discussion of some of the larger issues that divide us First, a very general point A reading of Nicholes' article might suggest that I believe reflection on moral dilemmas has no place in moral education In fact, though, and as stated in the original essay, I believe moral dilemmas can function as valuable educational tools My objec1 0 5

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tions pertained not to the possible value of having students reflect on moral dilemmas, but to the social context in which such reflection proceeds, to the character of the human problems that are used to trigger reflection, and to the ways children are encouraged to resolve these problems Second, Nicholes agrees with me that the dilemmas chosen for moral education should be "realistic ." But his statement that the Heinz dilemma was realistic in the fifties but is no longer so today makes me doubtful that we mean the same thing by "realistic ." I am not sure of the basis for his judgement that this dilemma was once realistic but is no longer so today For me, what is "unrealistic" or artificial about it is that, like a story-problem in a mathematics text, is is an abstraction from everyday life, a situation stripped of everything but its morally relevant features I find this "unrealistic" because, in everyday life, situations do not ordinarily come packaged in this way On the contrary, as noted in my earlier essay, in everyday life morally relevant and other features of a situation are found intermingled in an often-complex configuration, and it often requires considerable skill not just to conceptualize what the morally relevant features of a situation are and how they jointly give rise to a moral problem, but even to recognize that there is a moral problem that needs addressing A "more realistic" dilemma, as I understand it, would be one that gives the student a great deal more information about the motives, attitudes, and situation of the protagonists -the kind of thing that might be found, for example, in a novel or short story This would provide students with much more to work with in trying to articulate and to test competing conceptualizations of and solutions to the problem ; and it would thus afford them the opportunity to develop the skills needed for this kind of analysis Although I would endorse the alternative-generating activity that Nicholes describes, I am doubtful that it will go far enough in helping students develop these skills if the situation they are asked to analyze are not "realistic" in the sense I have indicated Third, Nicholes seems interested in my claim that "escape-hatching" or problem-avoidance is sometimes the most appropriate response to a difficult situation (Note that by this I refer not to avoiding what is problematic but to finding a solution that does not require us to choose between competing moral claims, each of which seems to some degree compelling .) He suggests that about this and other matters more research is needed But the context in which he says this leaves me with an uneasy feeling that he has more empirical research in mind when he makes this point For this reason I want to state that my claim regarding the wisdom of trying to solve a problem without an either/or choice between the competing claims we acknowledge is not intended as an empirical hypothesis but as an elucidation of rationality in the moral realm The gist of the suggestion is this : if both A and B are moral claims that on reflection seem compelling, then, other things being equal, it is more rational, assuming that it is possible, to adopt a course of action that 1 0 6

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allows us to satisfy A and B than to adopt one that allows us to honor only one of these claims This suggestion is close in spirit to Rawls' discussion of the principles of rational choice (Rawls, 1971, pp 411-413) Though this suggestion may be mistaken, I don't think empirical research, as ordinarily understood, will show it to be so I am indebted to Nicholes for stimulating me to clarify my views on this matter II In my original essay, I had argued that the dilemma-centered approach is inadequate because there is little reason to think that the skills in conceptualization and reasoning that develop and are exhibited in the classroom context will transfer to the student's analysis of his or her everyday experience outside the school That Nicholes finds this line of reasoning untenable as a criticism of Kohlberg and other dilemmacentered approaches is clear ; what is clear is why he things I am mistaken For he appears to offer two, not wholly consistent, interpretations of my error, neither of which, I will argue, is adequately defended Thus, at one point Nicholes seems to urge that, contrary to what I argue, the skills in conceptualization and deliberation developed in the classroom will, or are likely to, transfer to everyday contexts outside the school : It would be grossly unfair and probably incorrect to suggest that if young people can always reason, they will always be moral However, if they can and do reason, they are less likely to take action precipitously Action based on thoughtful reflection, I would suggest, is less likely to take a violent course, but we have no guarantee But this reasoning will not do It is not just that Nicholes does not defend his claim that action' based on thoughtful reflection is less likely to take a violent course or justify his tacit equation of "moral" and "nonviolent" ; more importantly, his re-assertion of the view that the reasoning skills learned in the moral education context will transfer to other contexts does not even attempt to rebut the reasons I offered in my earlier piece for believing such transfer unlikely, and I refer the reader to that essay to judge whether those points are persuasive To this let me add that I have some residual doubt concerning whether, in the passage just cited, Nicholes was really asserting some connection, albeit an attenuated one, between the reasoning skills developed in a dilemma-centered moral education program and everyday conduct outside the school And the reason for this doubt is that, with the exception of the passage just cited, Nicholes appears to concede my point that transfer is unlikely and offers a different kind of objection to my argument In particular, he seems to be suggesting that it is unfair to criticize dilemma-centered theorists because the reasoning skills that will 1 0 7

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develop in the moral education class will not transfer to everyday situations outside the school I quote verbatim the remarks in which this view is developed : The point is that the dilemma story was never suggested as a tactic by which children would become more moral The skills which Pekarsky suggests are not resulting in moral action outside the classroom are designed to do something quite different, to help students reason The crux of Pekarsky's criticism, then, rests on his view that the rational reasoning processes in which students engage in social studies class have little or no transfer to the real world This is a problem not unique to moral education One could as well ask whether high school students really use the knowledge in a unit on quadratic equations While only a few will solve quadratic equations in the real world, supposedly all benefit by their better understanding of mathematical systems Discussion of Sharon's dilemma may have little impact on a student if he or she finds himself or herself in a shop-lifting situation More importantly, however, the students who discuss Sharon's dilemma and other similar dilemmas have opportunities to recognize and confront conflict or moral principles and look at the reasoning they find satisfying in rationalizing a solution in such conflicts Nicholes seems to think my criticism unfair, first, because although there may not be transfer, this is not a problem unique to moral education but also infects other parts of the curriculum, like math One would think that this observation would be the starting-point for an argument designed to show that both math and moral educators should be looking for more effective educational strategies Instead, Nicholes uses the parallelism with the math curriculum to absolve moral education of any responsibility for making transfer more likely But if, as he seems to acknowledge, math education is in certain critical respects unsuccessful, then the fact that moral educators are no less successful than math educators is not a very compelling argument for present forms of moral education But Nicholes also has a second reason for thinking my point regarding transfer unfair, even if true, and this is that it is not the intention of dilemma-centered moral educators to get children to be more moral ; rather, and "more importantly" he says, students will have opportunities to reason, to recognize and confront moral conflicts, and to discover forms of reasoning that they find "satisfying ." Just why the achievement of this purpose is more important than students coming to be more moral in everyday contexts is not explained, and surely there are many who would dissent from this judgment, including some of the people who have been lobbying for moral education in schools Nor is it clear that Kohlberg, for one, would agree that his intention is not to help 1 0 8

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cultivate individuals who will address their everyday problems using the ,skills and principles developed in the moral education setting Moreover, even if Nicholes is correct and dilemma-centered moral educators are interested exclusively in moral reasoning and disclaim any intention of cultivating individuals whose daily conduct is guided by the kinds of reasonings and considerations that' enter into their thinking in the class devoted to moral education, this would not suffice to deflect my criticism -for the simple reason that if the question of transfer does not concern them, it should! That is, a program in moral education can be criticized not just if it fails to accomplish its avowed objectives but also if its objectives are themselves incomplete or otherwise inadequate ; and if, as Nicholes seems to think, dilemma-centered moral educators are not trying to cultivate individuals who will actually use the skills developed in the moral education context in everyday life, then this is seriously problematic ; and it is problematic because there is a pressing social need to cultivate human beings who are not just adept at articulating their principles and engaging in moral reasoning of a high order in the privacy of their classrooms and living-rooms but who will effectively use these tools amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life III Nicholes, following Mayer andKohlberg, breaks down the universe of educational ideologies into three distinct types which he describes under the rubric of "developmentalist," "humanistic," and "cultural transmission ." Nicholes identifies me with the last camp, which he describes as follows : It finds that leaping results from the direct instruction of information and rules . . Acquisition of morality in this view consists of learning culturally accepted rules It is this view of education which Pekarsky adopts when he asks that moral dilemmas teach and reinforce skills to uncover the morally problematic I suspect (although he does not say) that Pekarsky would suggest, as do the social learning theorists, that the sources of moral behavior reside in societal norms and the degree to which one observes them These remarks trouble me on at least two scores, the first of them being that they seriously misrepresent my views concerning the nature of morality and the nature of education I am at a loss to understand why he thinks I believe that education consists of imparting information and rules through direct instruction or that I believe that the acquisition of morality consists of learning culturally accepted rules (whatever they are) Perhaps I used certain words or phrases that led him to this mistaken inference, but I am not sure what they are ; for the record I do not subscribe to the views he ascribes me So f ar a s moral education goes, its aim, as I understand it, is to cultivate human beings who will examine 1 0 9

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the problems presented to them by life, guided by intelligence and by a sympathetic interest in and respect for the various individuals that make up the community And so far as education goes, my views are, with reservations, close in spirit to those developed by Dewey in such books as The Child and The Curriculum and Experience and Education ; and it is from this perspective, rather than from that of social learning theorists, that I would approach the problem of moral education Needless to say, this perspective is a far cry from that of social learning theory My second reason for being troubled by Nicholes' remarks is that there are many important thinkers, including, for example, Jerome Bruner and John Dewey, who favor some form of cultural transmission without in any way being committed either to direct instruction, as Nicholes understands it, or to generating conformity to existing cultural norms Cultural transmission as an educational ideal varies according to the thinker's views concerning which aspects of the culture should be transmitted and how they are to be transmitted, and it is misleading and confusing to ignore this diversity in identifying the ideology of cultural transmission as Nicholes does Of course, Nicholes is free to stipulate that "cultural transmission" is to understood in the way he suggests in his discussion ; but if so, it would be important to add that there are many seminal educational thinkers who are interested in some form of cultural transmission without subscribing to the beliefs he identifies with cultural transmission Indeed, Nicholes himself, in recommending that the young engage in the effort to understand and examine their own moral outlook, can aptly be described as engaging in cultural transmission, in the sense that the ideal of self-criticism and self-knowledge is a product of our culture, and one which survives, to the extent that it does, only because educators like Nicholes are determined to pass it on to succeeding generations More generally, it seems to me that education inevitably involves cultural transmission, and the only real questions concern what aspects of the culture should be transmitted and the spirit in which, and the methods by which, they are to be transmitted In the moral domain, it is relevant to inquire whether we want the young to acquire certain concrete rules of conduct, or ways of thinking about moral questions, or particular moral ideals, or some combination of these and other features of morality as we, as members of a particular culture, understand it ; and once we answer these kinds of questions, it is relevant to consider what educational approaches, developmentalist or other, will facilitate the attainment of these aims My own view is that the ideal of giving sympathetic, impartial, and respectful consideration to the interests of everyone affected by a course of action or social policy and of being guided by such reflection in one's commerce with the world is one of the noblest fruits of the Western tradition, and one worthy of being passed on Though reflection on moral dilemmas can, given appropriate circumstances, contribute to the development of individuals who understand 1 1 0

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and are committed to this ideal, it is not, I believe, sufficient, and this poses a serious challenge to moral educators References Pekarsky, Daniel, "Moral Dilemmas and Moral Education," Theory and Research in Social Education, Winter 1980, Vol 8, No 1, pp 1-8 Rawls, John, A Theory of Justice, Cambridge, Mass : Belknap Press, 1971 1 1 1

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Theory and Research in Social Education Volume 9 Number 4, Winter 1982, pp 113-114 €by The College and University Faculty Assembly of The National Council for the Social Studies Book Review Section Editor, Jack Nelson TEACHING VALUES IN COLLEGE, by Richard L Morrill San Francisco : Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1980, 169 pp $13 .95 hardback Reviewed by Hugh Wease, East Carolina University After nearly two decades of scholarly work and instructional practice, values education has obtained visibility in the curriculum of the elementary and secondary schools However, its place is not nearly so apparent in the curriculum of higher education Teaching Values in College is a book that will, no doubt, generate scholarly debate on the legitimacy of values education in post-secondary schooling and might even increase its viability on the college campus In the early part of the slender but solid volume, the author presents succinct sketches of such current approaches to values education as values clarification, normative and applied ethics, values inquiry, and moral education ; but he finds these positions lacking sufficient theoretical power to unify the major educational enterprises of "knowing, feeling, and doing . ." (p 54) He then sets forth a view of values education that, in his judgment, will integrate "fact and value, the normative and the descriptive, the cognitive and the affective, form and content, and knowledge and action" (p 57) Based on a phenomenological interpretation of value theory that supposedly is neither objective nor subjective, the author posits a notion of values that focuses on the centrality of human choice Values are defined as . standards and patterns of choice that guide persons and groups toward satisfaction, fulfillment, and meaning" (p 62) Housed in actions 1 1 3

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and relationships of people and disclosed through these personal and social experiences, values orient choice and shape conduct toward satisfaction and fulfillment ; make demands and claims upon people ; . relate self and the world" (p 68) ; and serve as criteria for critical selfassessment In the second one-half of the book, Morrill moves beyond his definition and functions of values to advance pedagogical principles and practices of values education that are consistent with the role and responsibility of higher education Eschewing specific content samples of values education except for an occasional illustration, he concentrates on forms of inquiry to bring to light the normative standards that lead to meaningful, authentic action These general methods consist of values analysis, values consciousness, and values criticism Value analysis in a phenomenological investigation means that a person uncovers and describes the experience of value in his or her stream of immediate experience by asking the basic question : "What is really taking place in this concrete human situation?" This question, if probed deeply, yields a clear consciousness of values that has the capacity to link "vigorous knowledge with the depth of human feeling" (p 84) Because an analysis and awareness of values often lead to conflicts and contradictions in values, a method to critique values is also an integral dimension of values education This form of values inquiry consists of general normative questions that are used to assess values Implicit in ordinary experience, these "standards for standards" are : consistency, reciprocity, coherence, comprehensiveness, adequacy, duration, authenticity, and openness They serve as criteria to affirm or reject values Of course, any change in values serves as a powerful force to alter behavior and action In the judgment of the reviewer, the quintessence of the book is found in the discussion of general approaches to values education Because value is a key integrative concept, these pedagogical methods, if effectively carried out, will, no doubt, reduce the traditional fragmentation of knowing, feeling, and acting While the accomplishment of this aim is indeed laudable, one might nevertheless expect a fuller treatment of phenomenology's method of pure description and its theory of value in a book on teaching values in college, written from a phenomenological perspective 1 1 4

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Subscription Information A subscription to Theory and Research in Social Education may be obtained by membership in the College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies Membership information is available from the Membership Department, NCSS, 3615 Wisconsin Ave ., NW, Washington D .C ., 20016 Institutional and non-CUFA subscriptions are $20 .00 per year, foreign subscriptions $30 .00 Write to the Editor for these orders Back Issues/Reprints Back issues may be obtained for $4 .00 each and reprints of individual articles (beginning with Volume 7) for .50 each Write to the Editor for these orders ; do not send payment until advised of availability of issue/reprint Change of Address/Missing Issues CUFA members should send change of address notice to the Membership Coordinator of the NCSS (See address under Subscription Information) Non-CUFA subscribers should send change of address notices and a recent mailing label to the Editor as soon as new address is known Also send queries about missing issues to the Editor Be sure to include a complete, proper address with such queries Advertising Information about advertising will be sent upon request Write to : Professor Murry Nelson Pennsylvania State University Division of Curriculum and Instruction 154 Chambers Building University Park, PA 16802 Submission of Manuscripts In order to facilitate the processing and review of manuscripts, authors are asked to follow these procedures : 1 Manuscripts should be typed with a dark ribbon or clearly mimeographed, multilithed, or photocopied Some corrections in dark ink will be accepted 2 Four copies of each manuscript should be submitted 3 All text, references, and endnotes should be double-spaced 4 Only substantive endnotes should be sequentially numbered and inserted in the text Do not use endnotes to cite references When citations are made, the author's name, publication date and (if appropriate) page(s) should be enclosed in parentheses and located in the text The complete reference should be included in a References section at the end of the 1 1 5

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text References should be alphabetized and may take any standard form as long as they are internally consistent 5 Each table and/or figure should be on a separate page and placed in a section at the end of the manuscript Arabic numbers should be used for numbering both tables and figures, and their location in the text should be indicated by the following note : Table/Figure t About Here 6 Send manuscripts to : Professor Jack Nelson Editor, TRSE Graduate School of Education Rutgers State University 10 Seminary Place New Brunswick, NJ 08903 No responsibility is assumed for loss or injury to manuscripts submitted for publication 1 1 6

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Theory and Research in Social Education is designed to stimulate and communicate systematic research and thinking in social education The purpose is to foster the creation and exchange of ideas and research findings that will expand knowledge about purposes, conditions, and effects of schooling and education about society and social relations Conceptualizations and research from all of the social sciences, philosophy, history and the arts are needed in clarifying thinking and practice in social education Manuscripts are welcomed on topics such as those that follow : Purposes of social education : Models, theories, and related frameworks concerning the development, diffusion, and adoption of curricular materials ; Instructional strategies ; The relation of the social sciences, philosophy, history and/or the arts to social education ; The politics, economics, sociology, social psychology, psychology, anthropology, philosophy, and/or the history of social education ; Alternative social organizations and utilizations of the school for social education ; Comparative studies of alternative models of social education ; Models of and research on alternative schemas for student participation and social action ; Relationship of different preand in-service patterns of teacher training to social education ; Models of the utilization of objectives in social education and related research findings ; Implications of learning theory, child development research, socialization and political socialization research for the purposes and practice of social education ; The relationship of different independent, explanatory variables to educational achievements in the area of learning about society and social relations ; The social organization, climate, cohesion of schools and other school characteristics as independent, explanatory variables predicting to general educational achievement 800-3M2A003-81 1 1 7

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Theory -and Research in Social E4qqgtion Dtparqnent of Curriculum and Iris tfuctiQu University ot" Wisconsin :Madison 225 North Mills Street Madison ;, WI .53706 Non-Profit Organization U .S Postage P A YI) Pptftiit No 658 .Madison,, Wisconsin


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