chapter  7
18 Pages

Knowledge as power

The most persistent dilemmas in educational debate in this century have been concerned with kinds of knowledge. In terms of school or university curricula, in relation to reorganization and the democratization of provision, in connection with educational ideals of every variety, there has emerged the question of access to knowledge, to the most appropriate knowledge, to one curriculum or another, to knowledge as in itself providing access to further education, to experience, to work. Philosophers have defined the frontiers amongst different knowledges, and sociologists – especially in the 1970s – have considered how access to knowledge and the curricula in which it is embodied are socially determined, politically structured, built in to the mechanisms of power. The school curriculum has been seen, rightly, as a vital battlefield on which competing social and cultural ideals wage war.