Symposium: "Understanding Education as a Social Institution"Coordinator:

Year: 1995

Author: Seddon, Terri

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This symposium addresses the study of education as a social institution. The project on which the symposium is based is the aeducation strandA in the major interdisciplinary study aReshaping Australian InstitutionsA which is being orchestrated by the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. This strand of the RAI project is being coordinated by a Monash University team: Professor Dick Selleck, A/Professor Lawrie Angus and myself. The project has involved drawing together a number of distinguished scholars who will outline their approach to an institutionalist study of education and will illustrate it with reference to their own empirical research. The invited scholars are: Professor Paul Bourke (ANU), A/Prof Gerald Burke (Monash), A/Prof Jane Kenway (Deakin), A/Prof Marjorie Theobald (Melbourne), A/Prof Peter Gronn (Monash) Mr Simon Marginson (CSHE, Melbourne), Dr Ian Hunter (Griffith), Dr Bob Lingard (Queensland).

The symposium presentations will be structured as responses to a lead paper prepared and predistributed by Dr Terri Seddon and A/Prof Lawrie Angus (Monash University). This lead paper will overview recent theoretical debates in the study of institutions, drawing attention to the growing significance of economic theories of institutions, alongside existing social theories of institutions, and indicating the application of institutionalist analysis in education. The value of an institutionalist approach in education will be affirmed and our approach to the study of education as an institution will be presented with reference to our own research.

The AARE symposium is a key step in the overall organisation of the education strand in the RAI project, being the first public exposure of the project to members of the education community. It will be followed by the preparation of full chapters by the contributing authors which will together form, with the lead paper, a big book on understanding education as a social institution. The full project will be disseminated to educational and social science researchers at a conference planned for September - October 1996 at ANU.