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Curriculum Studies

Defining the Curriculum: histories and ethnographies

Subjects for Study: towards a social history of curriculum

Subjects as ‘Coalitions’

The process model developed by Bucher and Strauss for the study of professions provides valuable guidelines for those studying school subjects. Within a profession, they argue, are varied identities, values and interests. Hence professions are to be seen as 'loose amalgamations of segments pursuing different objectives in different manners and more or less delicately held together under a common name at particular periods in history' Bucher and Strauss, 1976). The most frequent conflicts arise over the gaining of institutional footholds, over recruitment and over external relations with clients and other institutions. At times when conflicts such as these become intense, professional associations may be created or, if already in existence, become more strongly institutionalized.

The Bucher and Strauss model of professions suggests that perhaps the 'subject community' should not be viewed as a homogeneous group whose members share similar values and definitions of role, common interests and identity. Rather the subject community should be seen as comprising a range of conflicting groups, segments or factions (referred to as subject sub-groups). The importance of these groups might vary considerably over time. As with professions, school subject associations (for example, the Geographical Association) often develop at a particular time when there is an intensification of conflict over school curriculum and resources and over recruitment and training.

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Defining the Curriculum
  • Date of publication: 08/12/2011
  • Number of pages (as Word doc): 316
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Co-author: Stephen Ball
  • Subject:
    Curriculum Studies
  • Available in:
  • Appears in:
    Defining the Curriculum: histories and ethnographies
  • E-book
  • Price of e-book: $64.00
  • E-book ISBN: 978-0-203-81566-3
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