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What's Culture Got to Do With It? Educational Research as a Necessarily Interdisciplinary Enterprise

Michael Cole
Educational Researcher
Vol. 39, No. 6 (AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2010), pp. 461-470
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40793354
Page Count: 10
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Abstract

The author examines the role of culture in education in historical perspective to suggest the conditions required to promote generalized educational reform. Although deliberate instruction appears to be a ubiquitous characteristic of human beings, schools arise only when large numbers of people begin to live in close proximity, using technologies that create economic surpluses. Schooling is associated with the development of institutionalized hierarchies, modes of cultural transmission associated with writing and record keeping, and increased political-economic disparities within societies. The author examines several strategies for seeking change in the cultural foundations of schooling. He offers suggestions for why such strategies appear to have limited impact, and he discusses changes in global conditions that might lead to generalized educational reform.

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