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ERIC Number: ED237378
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Jan
Reference Count: 0
Relative Autonomy Reconstructed. Revised.
The British school system has relative autonomy, and therefore, could be potentially transformative--used to change existing economic and social relations. The correspondence thesis, which states that the schools perpetuate existing capitalist economic and social relations and serve as agents of reproduction, was the dominant paradigm of the last decade within the British sociology of education. This thesis has been bitterly contested, and, in recent years, substantially modified. Four developments within British social science over the last decade suggest a form of relative autonomy that grants considerable freedom to the educational system within British society to act either in a reproductive or transformative fashion. The four developments are: (1) the lack of fit between what the educational system produces and the needs of the British economic structure, (2) recent findings in social policy studies, (3) the partial penetration of capitalism in Britain, and (4) the independence of the school. The relative autonomy theory may be a helpful method by which Marxists may cope with the empirical reality of the British educational system/economy relationship. It suggests not that humans are either free or determined, but that there are both determinations and freedoms. It may be the organizing framework around which to build an empirically valid, intellectually coherent, and policy relevant British sociology of education. (RM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Correspondence Theory; Great Britain; Relative Autonomy Theory; United States
Note: Paper presented at the Sociology of Education Conference (Birmingham, England, January 3-5, 1983).