Conceptualising Schooling and Education in Modern Society: A Theoretical Approach

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:12
Location: Hörsaal 47 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Achala GUPTA, National University of Singapore, Singapore
In “schooled society” (David Baker, 2014), education is marked as an entity that provides leverage to one individual as compared to the other without its credentials. Amidst prevalent practice of “educational credentialism” (David Brown, 2001; Randall Collins, 1979), it’s imperative to conceptualise schooling and education (primarily within the context of schools) in modern society, for such attempt would provide a tool for analysing the status and mapping the social change.

While it is largely true that modern society is schooled, as manifested by the state and embodied by individuals through the process of socialisation, this phenomenon is quite complex, as well as specific to historical and cultural contexts. With theoretical insights provided by Baker, Brown and Collins through their conceptual writings, this paper explains the complexity of schooled society, its complicity with social change, and the role of state in developing the system of education as we observe it globally.

The empirics of the paper are drawn from PhD fieldwork conduced from December 2014 to December 2015 in Dehradun city in Northern India. The paper is organised into three sections. First section discusses the theoretical explanation of the concepts: “credentialism” and “schooled society”. Second section provides empirical description of Indian schooling system and brings forth the changing perspective of educators and students towards education. The final section critically engages with the aforementioned concepts and authors in an attempt to conceptualise shifts in perceiving and practicing education and suggests ways in which these shifts lead to creation of a new social.