Free paper Sociology of education: Creativity, Innovation and Communication

Challenge 3: Creativity, Innovation and Communication Three scenarios for the future: Lessons from the sociology of knowledge by Michael Young and Johan Muller

Keywordssociology of knowledge, social realism, Emile Durkheim, Basil Bernstein, boundaries and boundary-crossing, educational futures


This review draws on social realist approaches in the sociology of knowledge and in light of them constructs three scenarios for the future of education in the next decades. The primary focus of the review is on one of the most crucial questions facing educational policy makers the relationship between school and everyday or common sense knowledge.

The different possibilities for how the school/ non-school knowledge boundaries might be approached are expressed in three scenarios – ‘boundaries as given’, ‘a boundary-less world’ and the idea of ‘boundary maintenance as a condition for boundary crossing’. The educational implications of each are explored and the review makes the case for the third scenario. The factors likely to make one or other scenario dominate educational policy in the next 20-30 years are also considered.

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