chapter  9
20 Pages

What School Can and Cannot Do

In the last days of the twentieth century, Amartya Sen exhorted his colleagues to look at particular institutions together in order to see what they can and cannot do in combination with one another.1 For the better part of that century, anthropologists and sociologists had tended to take an integrated approach to institutions, but he was concerned about the tendency of economists to focus almost exclusively on the market and to treat it as an entirely separate entity. This same propensity prevails with respect to school.