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ERIC Number: ED187200
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Vocationalism in Higher Education: Explanations from Social Theory. ASHE Annual Meeting 1980 Paper.
Roemer, Robert E.
Three social theories (status-competition theory, functionalism, and legitimation theory) are considered as explanations of a growing vocationalism in higher education. Vocationalism is used to refer to an increasing interest among undergraduate students in pursuing studies that lead directly to occupational competence. Status-competition theory is thought to plausibly explain the growth of higher education and the status it imparts, but it does not explain the growth of vocationalism in higher education. It is claimed that a version of functionalism proposed by Talcott Parsons and Gerald M. Platt does not make a simple connection between occupational performance and educational preparation. According to this version of functionalism, the growth of higher education is not to be explained by the economic benefits that come from knowledge, and yet this theory explains the growing interest in occupationally relevant knowledge by the increased professionalization of occupational roles. The basic claim of legitimation theory is that the schools alter the social structure itself. Education is thought to expand the sources of cultural authority and in so doing creates new sets of specialized social positions. The second effect of education on social structure is that educational institutions designate the persons who are qualified to act as experts. New knowledge makes possible new expertise and new expertise expands the realm of professional practice. In this way educational institutions are thought to be in a position to create new professions. (SW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: ASHE Annual Meeting 1980
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Assoc