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Journal Article

The Political Construction of Mass Schooling: European Origins and Worldwide Institutionalization

Francisco O. Ramirez and John Boli
Sociology of Education
Vol. 60, No. 1 (Jan., 1987), pp. 2-17
DOI: 10.2307/2112615
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2112615
Page Count: 16
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The Political Construction of Mass Schooling: European Origins and Worldwide Institutionalization
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Abstract

This paper examines the origins of state educational systems in Europe in the nineteenth century and the institutionalization of mass education throughout the world in the twentieth century. We offer a theoretical interpretation of mass state-sponsored schooling that emphasizes the role of education in the nation-building efforts of states competing with one another within the European interstate system. We show that political, economic, and cultural developments in Europe led to a model of the legitimate national society that became highly institutionalized in the European (and later, world) cultural frame. This model made the construction of a mass educational system a major and indispensable component of every modern state's activity. We discuss the usefulness of this perspective for understanding recent cross-national studies of education.

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