By Gerald Bernbaum (auth.)

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Thus the new ideas implicit in recent developments within the sociology of education can be understood in the same general terms as those which I have used to explain the conventional sociology of education. As I have argued, the growth of the sociology of education in post-war Britain can best be viewed in the context of its relationships to the dominant sociological theories of structural-functionalism, to the expansionist changes in educational policy which represented a concern for social justice and economic efficiency, and to the basically humane, progressive and individualistic ideologies of teacher education.

In this fashion, 'theory' can readily become concerned with what is regarded as 'efficiency', and a place can be found for the 'wisdom of experience' with which the educationalists so strongly bolster their position. Simi- 39 larly, a recent President of the National Union of Teachers has felt moved to assert that sociologists and psychologists do not know the problems of the classroom. [Teachers] need to be reassured that many who are concerned in research have been teachers and know the problems of the classroom.

In this fashion, commitment will involve a recognition of differing perspectives, and 49 theory and research need no longer be separate. 18 According to these arguments, therefore, reflexivity is a prescriptive feature of the sociological method. In tum, sociological accounts cannot be viewed as manifesting a hierarchy of adequacy, rather they are just other versions of reality that are offered by sociologists. It follows, therefore, that Young is not attracted by the tradition of the sociology of knowledge deriving from Scheler and Mannheim.

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