This is a book about sociology of education—past, present and future.
In the first section the author chronicles and specifies the changes in the field, in a reflexive sociology of education, tracing the path out of liberalism, through radicalism and postmodernism, to an emergent new age stance in understanding education in society. Section two looks in more detail how these movements have actually worked in education and society.
The third section places the historical, macrosocial analysis of education and society on the smaller, more everyday screen of school life. Based on the author’s studies in high school, the question of identity and education is the fulcrum for a series of concrete studies or school portraits, which connect public social change and more personal, everyday life and identity with the social process of schooling.
The final section probes the new age theme. Questions of spirituality, rationality, magic, mysticism and sublimation are related to changes both in education and in sociology of education. What does it mean to do educational research in a re-sacralized, mystical society? And, does a new theory of sociology of education emerge on a Weberian rather than Durkheimian-functionalist or Marxist-radical view of the directions and reversals that begin in modernity and become more evident in our times?