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Class, race and gender and the construction of postsecondary curricula in the United States: social movement, professionalization and political economic theories of curricular change

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In this paper I briefly consider what I see as the standard conceptions of curricular formation in us post-secondary education: demographic faculty and institutional responses to changes in student populations ; faculty as professional and scholarly actors who shape curricula according to the logic of their fields or disciplines; faculty and institutions responding to broad technological and economic changes. I suggest variations in these standard interpretations that attend to social movements, class structures and political and economic forces. When I use social movement theory, draw on Foucault and give special attention to professorial pleasures of analysis`. When I examine the political economy of higher education, I draw on the rich literature that addresses funding patterns and power structures in business and industry, and us government mission agencies with an interest in higher education. I point out how these theories might provide us with a more complete understanding of curricular formation in post-secondary education.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 1997

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