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Title: The imprint of business norms on American education
Author: Alexander, D. V.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2010
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This research project is an enquiry into a social abstraction. It is a theory building exercise that centres on a descriptive multiple-case study of two senior high schools, a private Jesuit school with a mission to educate students for university disciplines and a public charter school aimed for career preparation, in the United States’ capital city of Washingto, District of Colombia. A combination of survey, dialogic, observational and documentary techniques was employed in a multi-methodological approach. This enterprise draws on Basil Bernstein’s pedagogical theory of symbolic educational knowledge codes whilst attempting to fill a gap in its theoretical apparatus.  The endeavour highlights some effects of alliances between business and education whilst exploring concepts of power, critical thinking, and knowledge. A realist theoretical lens is a key component in this study where business norms are conceptualised as a social entity ontologically effectual to educational processes. Other theorised perspectives were valuable to this study as well. This project demonstrates that social business norms penetrate the learning processes affecting school administration, instruction, and pupil conceptions of knowledge. Traditional forms of education are revealed to be in competition with other forms of education such as training for employable and transferable social skills where the virtual high technology age is perceived as a contributor to rapid social change. One of the unique analyses drawn from the research field work elucidated differences between a religious paradigm and a careerist pedagogical approach, both functioning in a democratic market economy. Ultimately, three contextual themes emerge from the data: entrepreneur ethics, social skills, and technology; all indications of how business mores are apparent in education. Whilst the sociology of education is central, basic economics of market dynamics were recognised and considered in this analysis. The salient theme in this endeavour is the control of knowledge by institutions and/or individuals.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available