Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 1998

Comparative Education today

Main Discipline: Educational Science
Lecturer: Professor J�rgen Schriewer
Institution: Humboldt Universit�t, Germany
Dates: 10. - 14. August 1998

The existence of states, nations, cultures, legal areas and civilisations with different history, structure and development trends has inspired comparative science. Since the early 19th century, this interest led to comparative human and social sciences, including comparative education. The theoretical specificity of comp -arative education stems from four features. First, the focus on cultural differences; second, theoretical reference to the systematic science of education; third, its reliance on international networks; and fourth, its equivalence to other comparative scientific efforts within the humani-ties and the social sciences. This gives the field its complexity. Presently, increasing international interdependence and more specifically, European process of regional integration adds even more importance to the comparative perspective.

This course intends to give a state of the art presentation of international/intercultural comparative studies in education. This includes both elements from its scientific history, and paradigmatic examples and findings from this field of science. The basic figures of comparative thinking and arguments will be presented. The methods of comparative education will be explored with reference to the history of science, the sociology of science and the philosophy of science. Contemporary developments will be related to broader processes of modernization and differentiation. Also the relationship between comparative education and politics will be discussed. Discussions on educational reforms, including programmes for economic and curricular reforms, very often refer to real or perceived international developments, trends, standards or models. Explanatory models derived from the sociology of knowledge will be utilised to account for this kind of international influence.

Basic readings

The lecturer
J�rgen Schriewer is professor of Comparative Education at the Institut f�r Allgemeine P�dagogik, Humboldt University, Berlin. From 1993 to 1994, he served as Dean of Humboldt University?s Faculty of Education and from 1992 to 1996 as President of the Comparative Education Society in Europe. He currently chairs the Standing Research Committee of the Worlds Council of Comparative Education Societies. He has published a large number of books, edited volumes and academic papers within the field of comparative education. Apart form the books listed above, he co-edited (with E. Keiner and C. Charle), Sozialer Raum und akademische Kulturen: Studien zur eupop�ischen Hochschul und Wissenschaftsgeschichte im 19. und 20 Jahrhundert, Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang 1993.