ERIC Number: ED273560
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Apr
A Cultural Interpretation of a Social Studies Curriculum.
Chilcott, John H.
Social studies documents were collected from teachers in the Tucson, Arizona area and examined using three theories of culture as a way to explore the interrelationships between social studies curriculum and United States society. Malinowski's functionalist position suggests that culture is composed of traits each of which provide a specific function in satisfying human needs. From a functionalist position not only is the social studies curriculum not a functioning whole but its elements are not integrated with a smoothly functioning United States society. Radcliffe-Brown's structural-functionalist position examines the structures produced by a society and their function for maintaining the structure of the larger system. Thus, the analysis of the curriculum looks at the organization of the curriculum and relationships between parts of the curriculum. This approach could prove profitable, but suffers from the inability to cope with changes in society. The structuralism of Levi-Strauss uses an analytical approach based on the assumption that observed phenomena are specific instances of underlying generalized principles of relationship or structure. Reviewing the curriculum in a structuralist approach shows conflicts between the components of society which permit or encourage diversity and those that encourage homogeneity. The myth of benefits of diversity stated in the curriculum may be only a means of compensating for reality. A list of data sources and a bibliography are included. (APG)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Rocky Mountain Regional Conference on Social Studies Education (Phoenix, AZ, April 2-5, 1986).