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John W. Friesen.

Calgary, Detselig Enterprises, c1983.
142pp, paper, $10.95.
ISBN 0-920490-34-4.

Reviewed by Clare A. Darby.

Volume 12 Number 3
1984 May

John W. Friesen has published a number of titles including People, Culture and Learning (Detselig, 1977). Friesen's purpose in this book is best summed up in his opening paragraph:

       There are a number of avenues through which one might proceed in attempting to
       explore the mandate and function of schooling, and this book combines the insights
       of two disciplines, sociology and applied anthropology . . . in addressing that task.
       The central thesis adopted is that in Canadian society, schools have been used, abused
       and manipulated in a myriad of ways, sometimes by dominant society and sometimes by ethnic
       minorities, but always as a medium to fulfill a specific cultural purpose.

The first two chapters attempt to define "culture" and "alternate schooling." Then Friesen examines schooling in relation to Canada's native people, the Doukhobors, the Holdeman Mennonites, the Amish, and Calgary's Chinese community. Each chapter, or "case study," illustrates a separate thesis. For example, the one on native people explores the function of the school as an assimilative agent. In general, the text presents two major problems. First, the case studies do not clearly specify how the schools have been used to fulfil specific cultural goals. Second, the most interesting and informative chapter, that on the Amish (of Pennsylvania), has very little at all to do with Canadian society. Moreover, only eight of the twenty-eight pages in that chapter make any attempt to discuss schooling. This loss of focus, coupled with some discipline-specific terminology, makes this text unsuitable for anyone except professionals interested in this topic.

Clare A. Darby, Three Oaks H. S., Summerside, PEI.
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