In a series of lectures published under the title ‘L’évolution pédagogique en France’, Durkheim analysed how the ‘history’ of secondary and higher education has been marked by a series of changes resulting from new political and economic trends since the Middle Ages. These were shaped by the development of new attitudes and needs.
Durkheim proposed that educational reforms reflect the general cultural context and illustrate the way in which the school attends to emerging needs that are not yet institutionalized in political society as a whole. This attempts an explanation of how the subjects of study which constitute the ‘content’ of education at any given time give rise to ‘categories of thought’ which thus inform the development of a society’s collective representations. Read more