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Sociology of Higher Education: Contributions and Their Contexts


reviewed by David Bills & Tricia A. Seifert June 10, 2008

coverTitle: Sociology of Higher Education: Contributions and Their Contexts
Author(s): Patricia J. Gumport (Ed.)
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore
ISBN: 0801886155, Pages: 400, Year: 2007
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In 1973, Burton Clark published what must have seemed at the time an audacious essay in which he took stock of the emerging field of the sociology of higher education.  Writing in the determinately scientific journal Sociology of Education, itself only a few years removed from its roots in the practitioner-oriented Journal of Educational Sociology,  Clark sought a middle ground for the development of a sociology of higher education that avoided a lapse into either atheoretical and overly descriptive “managerial sociology” on the one side, or what he saw as arid and trivial preoccupations with statistical and ethnographic research removed from the world of practitioners on the other.  Clark’s prognosis was more hopeful than not that the conceptual richness of Weber and Durkheim could enrich and enliven a sociology of higher education capable of meeting the practical problems of America’s ever-expanding system of higher education. Much has, of course, changed since... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: June 10, 2008
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15271, Date Accessed: 9/25/2017 11:40:38 PM

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About the Author
  • David Bills
    University of Iowa
    E-mail Author
    David Bills is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Programs in the University of Iowa College of Education and Professor of the Sociology of Education. His research interests are in education and the workplace, labor markets, technological and organizational change, educational demography, and social inequality. He recently published The Sociology of Education and Work, as well as two edited volumes (one on job training and the other on comparative social stratification). He is conducting research on trends in the hiring and training practices of German and U.S. employers over the past twenty years and is collaborating with colleagues at the Federal University of Minas Gerais on a study of social stratification in Brazil.
  • Tricia Seifert
    University of Iowa
    Tricia A. Seifert is a postdoctoral research scholar at the Center for Research in Undergraduate Education at the University of Iowa. Her research focuses on the impact of college experiences and institutional contexts on student learning. She is currently working with colleagues on the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, a longitudinal mixed methods study examining the role of institutional practices and conditions in promoting outcomes theoretically associated with liberal arts education. She and her colleagues recently published a piece in Research in Higher Education from this research project.
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