Contemporary Theories in the Sociology of Education by Jack Demaine (auth.)

By Jack Demaine (auth.)

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As such research proceeds there is a continued call for forms of intervention and improvement of a whole range of material resources which affect the condition in which children learn. These resources are not restricted to those encountered in Concepts in Sociology of Education 43 formal schooling but include wider resources such as community and housing. For some writers, however, no such intervention and improvement could overcome the cultural obstacles to education which are alleged to persist.

Internalization is constituted by what Parsons calls 'integration with affect'. Culture is a system of generalized symbols and their meanings. For internalization to take place the individual's own affective organization must achieve levels of generalization of a high order and this is achieved by the building up of attachments to other persons by emQtional communication with others so that the individual is sensitized to the attitudes of others. Now, the process of forming attachments is in itself inherently a process of generalization of affect and this generalization is in a 'major aspect the process of symbolization of emotional meanings-that is, it is a process of the acquisition of culture' (p.

A typical recent example of such a way of thinking by the DES can be found in the document Higher Education into the 19905. Paragraph 32 of that document argues that: Recent evidence suggests that youngsters take their decisions about whether or not to aim for higher education well before they reach the age of I 8; and that social, cultural and peer-group influences are crucial factors in those decisions. While it may be difficult to point to any particular measures which would have a swift and significant impact on participation by children of manual workers, it is at least possible that 44 Contemporary Theories in the Sociology oj Education participation by this group will by the 1990S be as much affected by the gathering impact of policies in the fields of housing, health and the social services generally as by educational policies.

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