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ERIC Number: ED453099
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Mar-10
Pages: 39
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
"The Door Opens and the Tiger Leaps": Theory and Method in Comparative Education in the Global Era.
Marginson, Simon; Mollis, Marcela
The field of international comparative education is constructed by relations of power and conflict. Comparative education contains an intrinsic tension between "sameness" and "difference." The dominant approach tends toward sameness and the elimination of variation, while one critique of the dominant approach tends toward an ultra-relativist focus on difference that would ultimately render comparison impossible. The principal practical role of comparative education, especially in its English language traditions, has been to provide technical support for hegemonic policy strategies of convergence, imitation, and homogenization, whereby national education systems are pushed toward global models based on idealized representations of "Western" education. This paper is positioned at a critical distance from the hegemonic relations of power in the field of comparative education, to (1) critique the positivist mainstream of the field; (2) review the field in light of the challenge of globalization, whereby the nation-state ceases to be the horizon of analysis, and the problem of homogenization of local/national identities is intensified; and (3) outline a preferred interdisciplinary basis for comparative education, drawing primarily on the history of education and educational sociology. The paper argues for an approach in which neither "sameness" nor "difference" are privileged, comparative education is reflexive about the relation between its techniques and its applications, theory takes primacy over methodology, and the qualitative is primary to the quantitative. In this approach the educational comparison is grounded in the refusal of hegemonic claims, the explanation of difference, and sympathetic engagement with "the other." Contains 14 notes and 88 references. (BT)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A