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Social equality in education : a comparative historical study of France and England.

Doyle, Ann (2013) Social equality in education : a comparative historical study of France and England. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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This thesis will explore the concept of social equality in education in relation to France and England within their historical contexts from 1789 to 1939. It will compare and contrast how both countries have gone about reducing social inequality in education. The thesis will emphasise the importance of the ideological legacy at the heart of both systems for understanding this i.e. Republicanism in France and Liberalism in England. French education emphasises equality and secularism. This is a legacy from the French Revolution, which brought the state centre stage in education. It also emphasises unity since Napoleon imposed a unified framework for its administration. In France these characteristics of centralism, unity and secularism have been perceived as offering the best possibility of providing equality of opportunity for all pupils regardless of social background, religion, ethnicity or geographical location. Equality was not a founding principle of English education, as it was in France; the concept evolved more pragmatically as a way of dealing with the more unfair aspects of the system. Liberalism with its values of freedom and diversity and the political and economic doctrine of laissez-faire have had the most enduring influence on English education The method of enquiry undertaken in this thesis will be drawn from comparative historical sociology. It uses comparative historical analysis to understand the variation in how both countries have gone about reducing educational inequality and why a discourse of egalitarianism is stronger in French than in English education. Three factors: persistence of ideology, social-class alliances and the nature of the state are put forward to explain the variation between both countries in relation to social equality in education. The final section of the thesis reflects on how the histories of both countries have impacted on their current education systems.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Controlled Keywords: qualitative research, case studies, comparative education, comparative historical sociology, comparative historical analysis, comparative politics
Subjects: Departments > Lifelong and Comparative Education
Depositing User: Mr Graeme Naylor
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2014 08:49
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2015 11:24
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