ERIC Number: EJ969314
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
On the Necessity of Re-Engaging the Classical Greek and Latin Literatures: Lessons from Emile Durkheim's "The Evolution of Educational Thought"
American Sociologist, v43 n2 p172-202 Jun 2012
Although much overlooked by both sociologists and educators, Emile Durkheim's "The Evolution of Educational Thought" ("EET"; lectures from 1904-1905) not only provides extended insight into the developmental flows and disjunctures of Western education and scholarship from the classical Greek era to Durkheim's own time but also indicates the fundamentally sociological nature of these transformations. As well, and in contrast to the more heavily structuralist, Cartesian rationalist approach that Durkheim adopts in his earlier, better known works (especially "The Division of Labor in Society," "Rules of the Sociological Method," and "Suicide"), Durkheim's "EET" may be better characterized as a historically informed, sociological pragmatist approach to the study of education as a humanly engaged process. Given the extended amount of material covered in "EET" and the necessity of establishing in some detail Durkheim's position on the development of educational thought over the preceding 2000 years, it has been necessary to divide this material into smaller packages for the purpose of presentation. In the first six chapters of "EET" Durkheim addresses (a) the Greek and Latin foundations of educational thought in France, (b) the role that the early Christian church assumed in shaping and preserving education and scholarship, and (c) the nature and emphasis of the Carolingian Renaissance (8th and 9th centuries), along with its relevance for the development of universities in Europe. Following (1) an introduction to Durkheim's "EET," (2) a synopsis of the first six chapters of "EET," and (3) a highly compacted overview of the remaining 21 chapters of this volume, this paper concludes with (4) a commentary on the necessity of attending to the historical development of Western social thought for a sociological analysis of knowing and acting. An epilogue briefly considers (5) some ways that sociologists, classicists, and other students of the human condition may contribute to this exceptionally consequential venture.
Descriptors: Classical Literature, Sociology, Foundations of Education, Educational History, Christianity, Universities, Foreign Countries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: France