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ERIC Number: EJ820475
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1467-9620
On Sentimental Education among American College Students
Sabin, Portia Culver
Teachers College Record, v109 n7 p1682-1704 2007
Background/Context: This study attempts to join the debate around the definition of "education" by looking at it as an ongoing, everyday social practice. It follows decades of work done on "love" in America and opens an inquiry into "friendship" as a product of situated practical action. It also challenges social science to shift its focus from the shaped individual to the social processes of shaping and transforming. Purpose: To study the development and maintenance of relationships between college students in America. Setting: A freshman-only college dormitory in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Population: Twenty-four 18- and 19-year-old first- and second-year college students. Research Design: This is an ethnographic study of students. The author lived in a college dormitory and conducted participant observation and informal interviews with the students. Conclusions/Recommendations: "Education" may be understood as an ongoing social practice. Social interaction cannot be approached from the standpoint that behavior is based on previously accumulated knowledge. Rather, interaction must be understood as the complex locus of people doing things together: being held accountable, coercing, and resisting each other. As meaning is made through social interaction, the process of social interaction might be termed an ongoing, deliberate, critical process of finding out what is going on. And people find out by instructing and being instructed by those around them. It is for this reason that we suggest that the focus of our research needs to be shifted from the shaped or transformed individual to the social processes of shaping and transforming.
Teachers College, Columbia University. P.O. Box 103, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3774; Fax: 212-678-6619; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States