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Title: Authority and discipline in the home and the school : testing the 'decline' thesis
Author: Wyness, Michael G.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1992
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Concern is expressed by a wide range of scholarly and political opinion over the decline of parental authority. The activities of welfarist and theraputic agencies are argued to have undermined parents' abilities to circumscribe their children's social and moral well being. I set out this argument through what I call the decline thesis by drawing on the school as a representative welfarist institution. The school is chosen for two other reasons. First, it has more legitimacy than other influential state backed agencies because it has an important educational function. Second, arguments over the loss of parental authority converge with arguments over the loss of an education authority in the classrooms. The decline thesis generates an idealised model of a division of responsibility between parent and teacher which has now broken down. Implicit in this argument is the notion that teachers no longer have an authority in class because their professional concerns are more sociological than educational. One important manifestation of this is the power teachers now have to both take away and redefine the responsibilities that parents have. Drawing on data from interviews with parents and teachers, I assessed the extent to which parents' and teachers' experiences and perceptions match the concerns expressed through the decline thesis. There was little sense in which parents reflected these concerns. Although there was some question mark over the disciplinary function of the school, parents tended to confidently assert their ability to set a moral and social agenda within the home. Teachers on the other hand, although rejecting the traditionalist assumptions made about control in class, reflected the view that some parents had abdicated their responsibilities for bringing up their children.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available