CANADIAN EDUCATION: A SOCIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS
Allan J. Macdonell and Wilfred B. W. Martin.
Volume 11 Number 4.
This volume is a second edition of a popular textbook for post-secondary courses in the sociology of education. \J Martin and Macdonell, professors at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of New Brunswick, respectively, have attempted to organize the text around four major sociological orientations—functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic interactionism, and ethnomethodology—and have concentrated on those topics that have generated the most significant monographic literature.
The book is divided into four parts, the first of which introduces students to the four above-mentioned theoretical approaches and surveys the structures of Canada's diverse educational establishments. The second and longest section examines the social organization of the school, specifically the roles of teachers and students, the nature of educational bureaucracy, the influence of government and special interest groups over school organization and practice, and the impact of demographic and pedagogical change on the educational process. The authors analyse the relationship between education and the social structure, especially the disparities in educational opportunity based on regional, ethnic, socio-economic, and gender-related factors. A final section reviews the response of Canadian schools to larger social and cultural changes that have occurred in the country over the last three decades. The book includes appendices that provide capsule histories of the field of educational sociology in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada, fuller explanations of the sociological approaches employed in the text, and a summary of the educational provisions of the British North America Act.
Canadian Education: a Sociological Analysis provides a substantial and balanced review of recent English-language literature in Canadian educational sociology, even though it does leave French-Canadian work under-represented. It is a valuable reference tool for students and scholars in,,the field. As a textbook, however, for use with students in teacher education programs, many of whom have no prior grounding in sociology, the book is unsatisfactory. The authors fail to provide sufficient historical context for their analysis; neither do they reproduce scholarly debates and controversies in sufficient detail to be of help to students unable or disinclined to undertake further research. Frank and Sydney Mifflen's The Sociology of Education: Canada and Beyond,* for all its shortcomings, meets those needs and does so in more engaging prose.
*Reviewed vol. XI/1 January 1983 p.11.
Robert Nicholas Bérard, Dept. of Education, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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