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A Discipline Divided

Sociology in American High Schools

Michael DeCesare

A Discipline Divided brings together the literature on the sociology of sociology and the research on the teaching of sociology to examine the ways in which historical, intellectual, and structural forces shaped the content and objectives of high school sociology courses between 1911 and 2001. Relying on questionnaire and interview data, published descriptions of past high school sociology courses, and current teachers' course materials, Michael DeCesare documents how teachers and sociologists have conceptualized the high school sociology course. On one hand, teachers have consistently taught social problems with an eye toward developing good citizens. On the other hand, sociologists have pushed for scientific sociology in the high school classroom, especially since the 1960s. A Discipline Divided points the way toward a new approach to the study of teaching-one that leads away from individualistic explanations for pedagogical decisions and toward an understanding of contextual and structural influences. Concluding with recommendations for bridging the historical gap between sociology teachers and academics, A Discipline Divided is a comprehensive and detailed study of the first sociology courses many students encounter, and an essential book for sociologists and education researchers. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 164Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/2
978-0-7391-1731-6 • Hardback • June 2007 • $85.00 • (£54.95)
Michael DeCesare is assistant professor of sociology at California State University, Northridge.
Chapter 1 The Sociological Context of Pedagogical Practices
Chapter 2 Teachers' Two Pillars: Social Problems and Citizenship Education
Chapter 3 The Emergence of the "Prejudice Reduction Course"
Chapter 4 Fifty Years of Confusion
Chapter 5 Consensus: Sociology as a "Science of Human Behavior"
Chapter 6 The Future of High School Sociology
This is a book that will fill a void in the understanding of the history and current status of high school sociology. Using different methodological styles allows for a deeper understanding of the issue. It is presented in a very well-written and easy to follow style.
Janice Rienerth, Professor of Sociology, Appalachian State University

DeCesare's research contributes to understanding the status of sociology in American high schools in two important ways. First, it unearths the sociology profession's repeated concern throughout the 20th century with the teaching of high school sociology, thus overcoming our own professional amnesia. Second, he initiates an important bridging between the sociology of sociology and that of teaching and learning which should spark additional research.
Jeffrey Lashbrook, Professor of Sociology, SUNY Brockport

This work will absolutely be a significant contribution to the field. This will be an invaluable resource for scholars interested in the topic.
Kathryn Dennick-Brecht, Head, Department of Social Sciences, Robert Morris University