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Alternative Approaches on Society, State, Educational Reform, and Educational Policy

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The article sets out to describe and examine critically five issues that have been historically approached in a different way by critical theorists and functionalist researchers: a) the role of education and the state in modern societies; b) the nature and goals of educational reforms and its rhetoric; c) the reasons that would explain why some reforms become successful and why others fail; d) the concepts of policy, public policy and educational policy; and e) alternative trends in the process of development and implementation of educational policies. In order to see what elements and visions distinguish critical theory from the functionalist research tradition the study outlines initially the main assumptions guiding the critical and the functionalist tradition with particular emphasis in the former philosophical approach and then discusses the arguments and assumptions grounding both traditions in relation to the five subjects above mentioned.

Keywords: critical theory; education policy; education reform; functionalism; the state

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Programa Interdisciplinario de Investigaciones en Educacion (PIIE) Chile

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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  • World Studies in Education is a bi-annual, refereed, international journal offering a global overview of significant international and comparative education research. Its focus is on educational reforms and policy affecting institutions in the global economy.
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