As Allaire and Firsirotu (1984) pointed out over a decade ago, the concept of culture seemed to be sliding inexorably into a superficial explanatory pool that promised everything and nothing. However, since then, some sophisticated and interesting theoretical developments have prevented drowning in the pool of superficiality and hence theoretical redundancy. The purpose of this article is to build upon such theoretical developments and to introduce an approach that maintains that culture can be theorized in the same way as structure, (...) possessing irreducible powers and properties that predispose organizational actors towards specific courses of action. The morphogenetic approach is the methodological complement of transcendental realism, providing explanatory leverage on the conditions that maintain for cultural change or stability. (shrink)
For academics and students, Education Management in Managerialist Times offers a critical guide to existing educational management texts and makes a strong case for redefining educational management along more socially and politically informed lines. The book also offers practitioners alternative management strategies intended to contest, rather than support, managerialism, while being realistic about the context within which those who lead and manage schools currently have to work.
Theorising the interplay of structure and agency is the quintessential focus of sociological endeavour. This paper aims to be part of that continuing endeavour, arguing for a stratified social ontology, where structure and agency are held to be irreducible to each other and causally efficacious, yet necessarily interdependent. It thus aims not to be part of that on-going journey in search of the 'ontological holy grail'. Instead, it offers a way of linking structure and agency which enables the practical education (...) researcher concretely to examine their relative interplay over time. The methodological key to teasing out their relative interplay is held to be analytical dualism. It will be argued that such a methodological device is precluded by Giddens' structuration theory. (shrink)
As Bhaskar (1989:1) argues, we need to take philosophy seriously because it underwrites both what constitutes science and knowledge and which political practices are deemed legitimate. At present, the field of educational research internationally is witnessing a pragmatist trend, whereby practical education research is carried out without reference to ontological and epistemological concerns. For David Reynolds, a leading UK school effectiveness academic, '[p]recisely because we did not waste time on philosophical discussion or on values debates, we made rapid progress' (1998:20). (...) Equally, for Teddlie, '[t]he orientation of many in the US is to do rather than to reflect […] In reality many practitioners are currently interested in what could work at their school […rather…] than in ruminations about social inequalities associated with different socioeconomic classes' (Teddlie and Reynolds 2000:27). The purpose of this chapter is not only to reclaim critical realist social philosophy for educational research, but also to reclaim reality from the positivist and statistical methodology that underpins School Effectiveness Research (SER) and to make clear the difference that realism makes by virtue of its critical explanatory power in unmasking the ideological nature of SER and its adoption by New Labour. (shrink)
In this article, Gostin and Archer explore the varied lenses through which governments are obligated to address humanitarian needs. States’responsibilities to help others derive from domestic law, political commitments, ethical values, national interests, and international law. What is needed, however, is clarity and detailed standards so that States can operationalize this responsibility, making it real for developing countries. Transnational cooperation needs to be more effective and consistent to provide assistance for the world's poorest and least healthy people.
The irony of the rejection of the sex/gender distinction is that it renders sociology per se an impossible enterprise. For it is my submission that, contra Hood-Williams (1996) and others, the biological and the social constitute distinct, irreducible levels of reality: to conflate (in a ‘downwards’ or ‘upwards’ direction) the two levels is immediately to render analysis of their relative interplay at best intractable. It is indeed arguable that Hood-Williams is not so much concerned with (rightly) rejecting the so-called ‘additive’ (...) approach to the biological and the social where the biological base is seen a priori as immutable, but more fundamentally with rejecting the necessary dualism of nature and culture (ie the biological and the social). In contradistinction, a realist defence of the sex/gender distinction will be made, involving critical reference to various major writers in the field and offering a brief but tentative discussion of the provenance of gender. (shrink)
This article deals with a foreign policy question of extraordinary importance: what responsibilities do States have to provide economic and technical assistance to other States that have high levels of need affecting the health and life of their citizens? The question is important for a variety of reasons. There exist massive inequalities in health globally, with the result that poorer countries shoulder a disproportionate burden of disease and premature death. Average life expectancy in Africa is nearly 30 years shorter than (...) in the Americas or Europe. In one year alone, an estimated 14 million of the poorest people in the world died, while only an estimated four million would have died if this population had the same death rate as the global rich. (shrink)
It is not uncommon in educational research and social science in general either to eschew the word truth or to put it in scare quotes in order to signify scepticism about it. After the initial wave of relativism in the philosophy of natural science, a second wave has developed in social science with the rise of postmodernism and poststructuralism. The tendency here is to relativise truth or to bracket out questions of truth. In contradistinction, this paper revindicates the metaphysical nature (...) of truth. Truth is a transcendental precondition of educational inquiry and is best understood as a formal, regulative norm. Realism about truth enjoins a defence of the correspondence theory, which is provided here. At the same time, however, the development of realism in the social sciences has ironically followed the postmodernists in its scepticism about truth and its rejection of the correspondence theory. This paper critically appraises such recent developments, since all research is unintelligible without realism about the social world and whether our substantive knowledge-claims correspond with it. (shrink)
As the international momentum of the school effectiveness movement continues, its exponents remain largely impervious to criticism. This paper argues that while they may not readily align themselves with the individualistic aspects of Conservative social philosophy, their methodology necessarily secretes an atomised social ontology. The charge of ideological commitment rests on the fact that the essentially positivist epistemology employed by school effectiveness researchers presupposes an ontology of closed systems and atomistic events. Thus any notion of the structuring of life‐chances is (...) automatically ruled out of court. The reciprocity of social ontology and methodology is explored in order to account for the myopia of the school effectiveness movement. (shrink)
This paper argues that the recent 'mini-renaissance' in Marxist educational sociology as propounded in particular by Rikowski (1996, 1997) is fatally flawed, not only denying the sui generis (autonomous) properties of the educational system but also precluding practical social theorising per se . The reason for this centres on the adoption of a universal internal relations social ontology, which results in the reduction of concrete social reality to the narrow abstraction of the omnipresent 'Capital Relation'. At the same time, such (...) theorising remains conspicuously silent on the issue of the feasible alternatives to capitalism implied by the (albeit flawed) explanatory critiques of such recent Marxist theorising within the sociology of education. (shrink)
In Europe, welfare state provision has been subjected to 'market forces'. Over the last two decades, the framework of economic competitiveness has become the defining aim of education, to be achieved by new managerialist techniques and mechanisms. This book thoughtfully and persuasively argues against this new vision of education. This in-depth major study will be of great interest to researchers in the sociology of education, education policy, social theory, organization and management studies, and also to professionals concerned about the deleterious (...) impact of current education policy on children's learning and welfare. (shrink)
his chapter discusses some of the basic tenets of a critical realist social ontology. It defines capitalism, which Roy Jacques conspicuously fails to do. Jacques argues that the very point of explanatory critique is to facilitate useful action. For Geoffrey Hodgson, the epsilon scenario could be described as beyond capitalism. A form of employment contract remains, but it is a mere shell of its former capitalist self. In the work process, the degree of control by the employer over the employee (...) is minimal. Hodgson argues that 'impurity' necessarily characterizes all socioeconomic systems. However, any assessment of feasibility depends crucially upon an adequate theoretical analysis of concrete socio-economic systems. The chapter explains the nature of disaggregative analysis, which is predicated upon a realist ontology. Transcendentally the social world is composed of internal and external social relations; disaggregative analysis enables thought experiments about alternative social arrangements. The chapter addresses the nature of division of labour, knowledge and Hayek. (shrink)
Qualitative data of a 'failing' junior school are used to highlight the ways in which a particular Local Education Authority (LEA) responded to 'serious weaknesses' outlined by a team of Office for Standards in Education inspectors and how staff mediated such LEA intervention. Such mediation will be theorised via the employment of analytical dualism, whereby structure and agency are held to be irreducible emergent strata of social reality. The purpose of this paper is not to complement and buttress the ideological (...) nature of school effectiveness research, but to provide a micro insight into current mediation of macro-level policy. (shrink)
As the international momentum of the school effectiveness movement continues, its exponents remain largely impervious to criticism. This paper argues that while they may not readily align themselves with the individualistic aspects of Conservative social philosophy, their methodology necessarily secretes an atomised social ontology. The charge of ideological commitment rests on the fact that the essentially positivist epistemology employed by school effectiveness researchers presupposes an ontology of closed systems and atomistic events. Thus any notion of the structuring of life-chances is (...) automatically ruled out of court. The reciprocity of social ontology and methodology is explored in order to account for the myopia of the school effectiveness movement. (shrink)