A Theoretical Conceptualization of the Hidden Curriculum in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century

A Theoretical Conceptualization of the Hidden Curriculum in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century

Dejan Hozjan (University of Primorska, Slovenia)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5799-9.ch002

Abstract

The chapter is based on the presentation of an understanding of the hidden curriculum in the twentieth century. In this period, four theoretical concepts existed: functionalism, criticism, liberalism, and postmodernism. The starting point for the concept of the hidden curriculum was that of the functionalists. Their understanding of the hidden curriculum was based on the transfer of social norms and values to students. Representatives of criticism, for example, Michael Apple, Michael Young, carried the knowledge of functionalists to the concrete social environment and sought the reasons for social inequality and the role of the hidden curriculum in this. Also, liberal authors, such as John Dewey and Phillip Jackson, dealt with practical issues, being, however, interested in the impact of the hidden curriculum in educational practice. With postmodernists, like Michael Foucault, a critical view of the presented concepts is shown and a warning that the hidden curriculum takes place in a complex social system. This chapter explores a theoretical conceptualization of the hidden curriculum in the second half of the twentieth century.
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Background

The search for the answer to the question, how the understanding of the hidden curriculum developed through the second half of the 20th century, will be based on the synergy of three general theoretical methods, namely:

  • 1.

    The Historical Method: Since the underlying purpose is to introduce the development of the concept of the hidden curriculum over a period of time, the chapter will be based on the use of the historical method.

  • 2.

    The Descriptive Method: With literature analysis it will describe different theoretical concepts of the hidden curriculum (such as functional, critical, liberal, and postmodern).

  • 3.

    The Comparative Method: Because the chapter is not based solely on the description of a particular theoretical concept, the key purpose is to compare them and to find similarities and differences.

The chronological account of the development of the hidden curriculum is based on the presentation of various theoretical concepts. In this, we have relied on Skelton’s (1997) and Hurn’s (1994) classifications. The latter have articulated the following theoretical concepts of the hidden curriculum:

  • 1.

    The functional,

  • 2.

    The critical, and;

  • 3.

    The liberal concept.

Since at the turn of the century a new variety of the phenomenon of the hidden curriculum could be detected, also the postmodern concept has been added to the list of theoretical concepts.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Liberalism: A sociological concept, according to which freedom (religious, political, etc.) and equality of the individual are the cornerstone of social progress.

Power-Knowledge: Foucault’s concept with which he wanted to highlight the use of knowledge for hidden political purposes.

Postmodernism: Theoretical orientation that is based on the critique of modern society and try to understand the role of the society in the development of unique personality.

Criticism: Sociological concept according to which everything is manifest, all existing, subject to objective evaluation, evaluation, analytical review.

Socialization: Processes by which people adapt to the society and form themselves as personalities.

Functionalism: Sociological concept that views society as a system of interdependent parts whose functions contribute to the stability and survival of the system.

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