Contemporary accounts of school subjects arise from two major perspectives-the sociological and the philosophical. Sociological accounts have followed a suggestion made in 1968 by Musgrove (1968) that researchers should:

examine subjects both within the school and the nation at large as social systems sustained by communication networks, material endowments and ideologies. Within a school and within a wider society subjects as communities of people, competing and collaborating with one another, defining and defending their boundaries, demanding allegiance from their members and conferring a sense of identity upon them…even innovation which appears to be essentially intellectual in character, can usefully be examined as the outcome of social interaction, (p. 101)

Musgrove remarked that ‘studies of subjects in these terms have scarcely begun at least at school level’.