ERIC Number: ED235089
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Jan
Reference Count: 0
The Paradigmatic Mentality: A Diagnosis.
The major features of the paradigm argument are outlined and the disastrous effect that the paradigmatic mentality has had on the development of the new sociology of education is examined. The paradigm argument states that all knowledge is founded upon epistemological, theoretical, and political assumptions, and that, therefore, knowledge must be regarded as framed within, and relative to, a particular paradigm. What makes the new sociology of education particularly significant is its denial of the claim that sociologists can produce objective knowledge about the world. Because of this view, the discipline has split into competing approaches and divisions. It is in this context that the paradigmatic mentality, a set of attitudes to sociological work deriving from the paradigm argument, has flourished. In practice the paradigm argument encourages intolerance, divides sociological work into different paradigms, and threatens the very possibility of rational debate among representatives of the different approaches. The most common response to work in other paradigms which the argument induces is sheer neglect. Huge tracts of the sociological literature are ignored. The paradigm argument also encourages sociologists to treat their own political and theoretical assumptions as articles of faith, encouraging speculation and the neglect of systematic checking of theories and facts. If the paradigm argument were valid, we might have to live with its consequences. However, there are good reasons for thinking that it is not. A discussion of these reasons concludes the paper. (RM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Knowledge; New Sociology of Education; Paradigm Argument
Note: Paper presented at the Sociology of Education Conference (Birmingham, England, January, 1983).