The Struggle for the History of Education  book cover
1st Edition

The Struggle for the History of Education

ISBN 9780203828854
Published February 25, 2011 by Routledge
152 Pages

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Book Description

The history of education is a contested field of study, and has represented a site of struggle for the past century of its development. It is highly relevant to an understanding of broader issues in history, education and society, and yet has often been regarded as being merely peripheral rather than central to them.

Over the years the history of education has passed through a number of approaches, more recently engaging with a different areas such as curriculum, teaching and gender, although often losing sight of a common cause. In this book McCulloch contextualizes the struggle for educational history, explaining and making suggestions for the future on a number of topics, including:

  • finding a set of common causes for the field as a whole
  • engaging more effectively with social sciences and humanities while maintaining historical integrity
  • forming a rationale of missions and goals for the field
  • defining the overall content of the subject, its priorities and agendas
  • and reassessing the relevance of educational history to current educational and social issues.

Throughout this book the origins of unresolved debates and tensions about the nature of the field of history of education are discussed and key examples are analysed to present a new view of future development.

The Struggle for the History of Education demonstrates the key changes and continuities in the field and its relationship with education, history and the social sciences over the past century. It also reveals how the history of education can build on an enhanced sense of its own past, and the common and integrating mission that makes it distinctive, interesting and important for a wide range of scholars from different backgrounds.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  2. The Struggle for Social Progress  3. The Struggle for Social Change  4 The Struggle for Social Equality  5. The Struggle for Educational Reform  6. The Struggle for Theory and Methodology  7. The Struggle for New Directions  8. The Struggle for the Future  9. Conclusion

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Gary McCulloch is the inaugural Brian Simon Professor of the History of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, UK.


'Gary McCulloch’s The struggle for the history of education is an excellent and timely publication which makes a very significant contribution to the field. It is extremely well informed and insightful; meticulous in its attention to detail; measured in its weighing of different and contested viewpoints; and a real pleasure to read. In the book, McCulloch explores the struggles, fissures and insecurities of the field of the history of education over the past century including its often uneasy relationship with education, social studies and history. The autobiographical thread running throughout the book, which enables McCulloch to reflect upon his own journey and professional career as an educational historian over the past 30 years, is particularly enjoyable.' - Wendy Robinson, University of Exeter, UK

'Gary McCulloch had a clear purpose in writing this excellent and stimulating book: to carve out a secure place for the study of the history of education that justifies its existence in the twenty-first century.' - Clyde Chitty, University of London, UK

'McCulloch’s contribution to the field resides not just in his original research and insightful scholarship on educational policy of the twentieth century but also in his leadership of the field, staking its claims and representing its interests in academic and policy forums for educational research. An impressive aspect of his published work has been in critical appraisal and overview, consolidating and editing collections of work to provide assistance for newcomers as well as reflective summaries of the state of the art, for the benefit of his peers. This latter work is marked by its breadth and inclusiveness, a generous vision that acknowledges the multi-faceted interests of writers and readers of education history. In so doing he underlines the centrality and lends weight to the role of historical study in making sense of educational policy and practice.' - Peter Cunningham, University of Cambridge, UK

'This book is a remarkable and readable account of the development of History of Education, indicating both its problems and its strengths. It should certainly be on the reading list of any students embarking on a profession in teaching. As Raymond Williams has said: ‘We do not solve the critical questions by understanding the history, but still an adequate sense of the history, as opposed to the ordinary functional myths, is the basis of any useful approach’.' - Pam Hirsch, University of Cambridge, UK

'Gary McCulloch has done every historian of education a favor by providing a thoughtful appraisal of the history of education, its past and present, his knowledge of the subject solid and very well displayed in his impressive study.' - Prof. Dr. William J. Reese, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

'The book advances the discussion of what the field has achieved, and may achieve in the future. It makes a strong argument for the contribution that research in the history of education can have for contemporary policy making...everyone with an interest in the field should read it.' - Craig Campbell, University of Sydney, Australia