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Durham e-Theses
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The structure of ideology and belief in “open education": a sociological study

Syer, Michael Alan (1977) The structure of ideology and belief in “open education": a sociological study. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This -thesis is concerned with beliefs in and about education. It attempts to develop ways in which such beliefs can be studied in relation to the context of which they are an essential part. Part I explores the nature of belief. The concept of "value- knowledge" is used to emphasize the commitment that underlying beliefs entail. A "tree-root" metaphor is also employed to explore the ways in which beliefs are structured, both internally and in relation to their social context. It is argued that commitment and structure are two aspects of the same thing. A methodology is developed which relates creative thought to belief. Part II considers various treatments of educational ideologies. It is suggested that insufficient attention has generally been given to the commitment and structuring of beliefs. Certain dimensions are elaborated on which educational beliefs and ideologies might usefully be considered. Parts III and BT develop this analysis by examining various meanings and implications of "open education" and by exploring the notion of "closure". Finally, Part V illustrates the methodology by reference to the educational beliefs of early nineteenth-century British Radicals, early twentieth-century American Progressives and contemporary British Child-centred educationists. Though the thesis is intended primarily as a contribution to the sociology of education, it is suggested that it has important implications for the sociology of knowledge.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1977
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 09:34

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