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ERIC Number: EJ996940
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0030-9230
Elite Power and Educational Reform: An Historiographical Analysis of Canada and the United States
Brownlee, Jamie
Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, v49 n2 p194-216 2013
In this article, I reopen some of the seminal theoretical debates among critical scholars on the nature of educational reform, arguing that there has been a consistent tendency in the literature to dismiss or downplay the significance of "instrumentalist" analyses in favour of cultural/hegemonic and structuralist explanations. As a result, education scholars who advance the instrumentalist emphasis on elite intervention in the policy process and the importance of organised class action have often been dismissed as one-dimensional and conspiratorial. To support this argument--and, by extension, those made by instrumentalist theorists--I bring together historical evidence from Canada and the United States in three historical periods: the mid-nineteenth century, the early twentieth century and post-Second World War. In each of these historical periods, I demonstrate how the structure and purpose of educational institutions were modified largely at the behest of economic elites (closely associated with political power and the professional educational establishment) in order to shape and implement a particular model of educational reform. Central to my argument is that powerful economic actors have always recognised the political nature of schooling and that elite class consciousness is and has been well-developed with respect to educational issues. The concluding section outlines the implications of my arguments for the future of educational reform. (Contains 100 footnotes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada; United States