THE SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION: CANADA AND BEYOND
Frank J. Mifflin and Sydney C. Mifflin.
Volume 11 Number 1.
While Canadian scholars have made significant contributions to the field of educational sociology, it is difficult to find a satisfactory textbook in the area for use in Canadian universities. Frank and Sydney Mifflin of St. Francis Xavier University have sought to remedy this problem with a general introduction to the sociology and social psychology of education based on recent Canadian and international research.
The authors preface their text with a 'brief survey of the history of education in Canada, a fundamentally conspiratorial and a historical account based on the work of Michael Katz and the American studies of Bowles and Gintis. A useful .general chapter on theory classifies major schools of sociological thought and identifies important Canadian contributions to each. Chapters on intelligence and learning theory explore the relationships between sociological and psychological theories in these areas. Especially impressive is the authors' careful review of the controversy surrounding the theories of Hans Eysenck and Arthur Jensen on intelligence.
A section on pre-school influences considers factors such as race, class, and the nature of the family that affect educational achievement apart from schooling. Less successful is a section dealing with the school. The authors provide solid discussion of such issues as evaluation, ability grouping, and teacher expectations, but their presentation of work on adolescence is very limited, and their chapter on educational structure and organization is primarily a descriptive catalogue.
The wider role of education in society is approached through contrast of different perspectives on the functions of schooling and its results, especially with respect to economic and status achievement. The book concludes with an examination of the concepts of hegemony and legitimation in education.
The authors could have paid greater attention to the work of scholars in French Canada and included fuller consideration of views and research that conflicted with their own. A dearth of photographic and diagrammatic illustration limits the book's value as a text. The authors do, however, offer a creditable introduction to macro-level educational sociology in a Canadian context and an extensive, if not exhaustive, bibliography of Canadian scholarship in the field. The book will find a place in undergraduate and graduate courses in educational foundations.
Robert Nicholas Bérard, Dept. of Education, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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