Comparative Sciences: Interdisciplinary Approaches: Volume 26

Cover of Comparative Sciences: Interdisciplinary Approaches
Subject:

Table of contents

(19 chapters)
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List of Contributors

Pages vii-viii
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Preface

Pages ix-xii
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Abstract

Systematic, consistent, and holistic reflection on comparative methodologies across different disciplines and fields is rare. This chapter, however, develops a framework for both understanding and operationalizing comparative research. First, the basic characteristics of comparison and how it is used in social science research is described. Then, the benefits of comparing for identifying similarities versus differences and the contexts that determine the appropriateness of comparison are discussed. Next, several questions are posed that serve as guides in the operationalization of both the promises and the pitfalls of comparison. Finally, these questions are used to frame both conceptual and practical approaches to inter- as well as intra-disciplinary comparative research.

Part I: Methodological Considerations in Comparative Sciences

Abstract

Comparative Education is conceptually difficult to define. It has been described as having an unusually wide terrain. It suffers from a host of identity crises, and this chapter enumerates and explains 10: deciding whether Comparative Education is a discipline, a field or a method, what does ‘comparison’ in Comparative Education denote?, the minuscule place of the comparative method in Comparative Education, the dominance of single unit studies, the dearth of taxonomies, the problem that globalization makes Comparative Education seems like a field past its shelf-life, the question as to whether Comparative Education should graduate to International Education, the fact that it can show very little evidence of achieving the lofty goals it purports to pursue, the many pitfalls in practicing Comparative Education and the lack of autochthonous Comparative Education theory. The chapter concludes by indicating the potential from other comparative sciences, in order to address this problem.

Abstract

The main aim of this chapter is to discuss the conceptualization of comparative pedagogies within Continental European and Anglophone traditions, and to discuss the importance of comparative pedagogy within the contemporary comparative educational research as such. The chapter opens with the issue of naming and translation of the key terminology, notably pedagogy, comparative pedagogy, and vzgoja (Erziehung in German and vospitanie in Russian) – a concept which implies the teacher’s intentional guidance of children in their moral, personal, social, aesthetical, physical, and spiritual advancement. The chapter presents a brief history of the development of pedagogy as a distinctive science, and proceeds with the discussion on pedagogy’s identity. Due to multifaceted understanding of pedagogy in Continental Europe, the chapter focuses on the academic tradition in Slovenia and wider area of former Yugoslavia. Further, the role of comparison in different contemporary historical periods of pedagogy’s development is explained. The chapter shows that comparative pedagogy has different meanings in different academic traditions. The main difference between that Continental Europe and the Anglophone world is in the knowledge base they built on (pedagogy vs. other social sciences), and the focus they place on endogenous and exogenous factors influencing the nature of education systems and pedagogical processes. The author finally proposes a new definition of comparative pedagogy; a definition which takes pedagogy as its knowledge base, but is also informed with a long tradition of comparative education research based on other social sciences.

Abstract

Contemporary comparative pedagogical discourses are becoming increasingly popular and strongly modify the policy and practice of education worldwide. Intensification of empirical studies naturally leads to the decrease of the research interest in purely methodological issues that stand apart from practical application of comparative analysis and comparative method. This chapter attempts to fill in the methodological lacuna in the study of comparative method and its potential when doing research determined by the ideological context. The authors state two main research questions, the first one concerning the potential of comparative analysis for the detection of the technologies and facts of ideological indoctrination and the second one focusing on its functional possibilities in revealing the transformations in the vision of pedagogical reality by the theorist under the influence of the complete change of the state’s ideology. Statistical analysis of the units, content and comparative analysis, quantification, interpretation, and analogy were used for the comprehensive comparative study of the small volume of text by A. S. Makarenko Beseda s rabochim aktivom na zavode ‘Sharikopodshipnik’ (Conversation with Working Active Members at the Plant ‘Ball-bearing’) with comments published in Russian and its analogue issued in German by Makarenko-Referat laboratory and two text versions of “Zadachi i metody narodnoj shkoly” (“Objectives and Methods of National School”) by P. P. Blonsky issued under the same title in 1916 and 1917. General outcomes of the research vividly demonstrate how micro- and macro contexts may widen the horizons of the comparative method and significantly differentiate comparative research schemes.

Abstract

This comparative and qualitative study-in-progress focuses on two early childhood teacher education (ECTE) programs in contexts where the participants are undergoing rapid social and personal change: a program in Namibia and a training program for immigrant childcare educators in Canada. The objective is to provide in-depth understanding of the ways in which differing ideas about ECTE are reflected in practice. It is important to ensure that ECTE programs prepare teachers to dovetail children’s preparation for school with meaningful connections to the culture and language of the home community, since more and more children spend their preschool years in early childhood (EC) centers that are becoming increasingly westernized in character. Without such connections, children in settings undergoing rapid change will continue to drop out of school before literacy and other skills are firmly established. The data will stem from analysis of early childhood care and education and ECTE curricula; policy and other documents; focused observations in ECTE classrooms and teaching practica; and interviews with teacher educators, education officers, teachers, parents, and community leaders. The results are expected to illuminate issues and strategies which are most likely to be effective for ECTE programs, with implications for teacher education in a range of settings in both the majority and minority worlds.

Abstract

In this chapter, the author offers a horizontal comparison of interpretation standards contained in international legal instruments of different origin. These legal instruments range from international treaties to model laws. They also originate from different law makers such as the United Nations or individual states as well as trade or academic organisations, mainly regulating civil and commercial matters. The author argues that this comparison can provide the basis for the development of a uniform standard in the application of such law, which is often referred to as uniform law because it provides a single source of law to regulate a multitude of situations spanning across national boundaries. The main point of reference is the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, also known as the VCLT. This UN treaty specifically provides a general interpretation standard. From there newer standards occurring in subsequent uniform laws can be integrated using the lex specialis doctrine. This, in turn, provides opportunities for comprehensive usable methods to be developed for uniform law both in a public and private law settings. These then facilitate transparency, fairness and reasonableness. The correct identification of object and purposes of any given instrument is crucial for the successful interpretation of its content. It is this point that needs further research, and this chapter offers a starting point by providing some detailed examples from a range of uniform laws of varying nature including international sales laws, arbitration laws and Double Taxation Conventions.

Part II: Empirical Comparative Studies

Abstract

This critical analysis explores issues linked to the development of sustainable study abroad programs in emerging nations, and the challenge of developing true partnerships between universities in the North and South. To this end the analysis: (1) develops a framework for analyzing the opportunities, challenges, and dilemmas of expanding study abroad programs in emerging nations; (2) asks how study abroad programs might be redesigned to become more beneficial to host institutions and communities, while providing more responsive and transformative learning experiences for students; and (3) examines the challenges facing universities from the North and South who wish to create collaborative partnerships linked to grants, research, and publications.

Abstract

The chapter focuses on how higher education (HE) influences the construction of social trust. Social trust is defined as one of the most important subjective aspect of people’s well-being. The analysis refers to impersonal trust and institutional trust, and uses various indicators for measuring the two, such as generalized trust, generalized fairness, trust in parliament, and trust in the legal system. The study covers 19 European countries and explores the problem at both aggregate and individual level. It draws on data from the European Social Survey (2006–2010), applying descriptive statistics and multilevel modeling for the analysis of data. The chapter argues that the higher the educational level of people is, the more trustful they are. Our findings clearly show that, at the individual level, HE influences positively the degrees of both impersonal and institutional trust. The results also suggest that the relationship between HE and trust differs substantially across European countries. As regards impersonal trust, the impact of HE is stronger in countries where people without HE have lower average levels of impersonal trust. However, with respect to institutional trust, HE tends to have a strong positive impact in countries with high levels of institutional trust among people without HE. Furthermore, both impersonal and institutional trust among HE graduates is greater in countries with full democracy than in those with a flawed democracy. This fact raises once again the question whether social trust is a characteristic of individuals or of social systems.

Abstract

This chapter reports on a qualitative study that investigated the functioning of school governing bodies as a tool for promoting democracy in two schools. Data was gathered through interviews, observations and document reviews. Findings revealed that democracy was in existence and practiced at both schools and that it was characterized by shared decision-making and acknowledged rights of individuals, representation, participation and equality. Two structures for promoting democracy were found to be in existence in both schools, and these are school governing bodies and representative councils for learners. Such structures were found to be functioning effectively and contributing to the democracy in schools. However, although the learner voice was represented at both schools, learner participation in crucial issues in both the schools was limited. The study recommends that all teachers, learners and parent representatives on the SGBs be trained in skills such as deliberation, debate, dialogue and managing differences. Furthermore, training or capacity building related to advocacy skills and leadership development should be provided for all members of the SGB including teachers. The more learners, parents and staff are involved in school policy and decision-making, the more there is a genuine community involvement in schools, and the more effective a school becomes. Also, schools need to move towards learner-initiated decision-making where learners initiate the process and invite adults to join them in decision-making. Also, there is need for teachers to be trained in democratic ways of operating in the school and classroom, which will possibly help them learn ways of working democratically in both the whole school and the classroom.

Abstract

Promoting a “Culture of Peace” has always been one of the ultimate goals in the provision of education around the world, including Thailand. The concept of Education for International Understanding (EIU) has thus been developed since the “Peace Movements” following the 20th century’s world wars. Initially, the field encompassed peace education, international education, human rights education, citizenship education, and development education. Gradually, it has become an interdisciplinary, and multidimensional field of study encompassing other related themes including disarmament education, nonviolence education, education for conflict resolution, antidiscrimination education, gender equity education, multicultural education, global education, education for international cooperation, education for dialogue of civilizations, education for interfaith dialogue, values education, environmental education, education for sustainable development, and education for inner or personal peace. Moreover EIU, which formerly focused on the “international” dimension, is now concerned just as much with issues and problems “within” (intra) societies. This chapter examines the development of the concept and the implementation of EIU-related themes in Thai policies and curriculum. Survey research was conducted before and after the major political crisis starting in 2008. Survey questions include ability to identify national policy relating to EIU, perceptions concerning the objectives in implementing EIU and values highlighted within an EIU framework, teaching methods, experiences in studying/participating in EIU-related courses/activities, and problems in studying/participating in EIU activities. Some results from the study in 2007 are presented and compared with findings from following studies in 2010, 2012, and 2014.

Abstract

Recent studies show that Italian women’s education and skills are high and that they have access to the job market, but, at the same time, there are many difficulties in maintaining a job in certain periods of their lives. Exactly, the critic period is connected to the choice of having children or a “traditional family” and, in general, with family duties. To explain the different percentage of women participation to job market in different countries, recent studies have looked to peculiar institutional structure of “municipal” job market and to social support services. The public offer of childcare and family support explains lots of the differences among different countries, but it is a complex datum, really hard to detect, collect, and interpret. Other relevant data are statute provisions on parental leave (mother or father oriented). A systematic analysis has shown that we have, both at a national and at a European level, legal rules and models which should promote equal opportunities, but that we miss cultural promises going in the direction of supporting families and encouraging the preservation of female job place. This study also investigates two different kinds of answers, analyzing and comparing microchoices (technical and juridical instruments) and macrochoices (legal policies) that different legal systems, have adopted in the European context to promote an effective integration between lifetime and job time, to support families in terms of public services, and suggest possible new instruments connected with partnership of public and private programs.1

About the Authors

Pages 267-274
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Index

Pages 275-277
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Cover of Comparative Sciences: Interdisciplinary Approaches
DOI
10.1108/S1479-3679201526
Publication date
2015-05-07
Book series
International Perspectives on Education and Society
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78350-455-8
eISBN
978-1-78350-456-5
Book series ISSN
1479-3679