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The role of education as a cultural construct in the United States and France

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Title: The role of education as a cultural construct in the United States and France
Author: Newshel, Amy
Advisor: Hohenstein, William
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Sociology
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Running Time: 185179 bytes120074 bytes
Issue Date: 2004
Abstract: France and the United States often have opposing cultural value systems that arise from the ideologies of their political foundations and are mirrored in the structuring of their school systems. While both are historical allies and were founded as democratic republics, France and the United States experience common cross-cultural misunderstandings. This is caused by the divergent social ideals for the structure of government authority and individual autonomy. American culture tends to view education as a private or local concern, thus allowing for increased adaptability and individualized educational pursuits. However, the structure perpetuates significant gaps in accessibility to quality education due to socio-economic class. French culture values fixed systematization and places education as a public concern on the national level. Therefore the structure meets efforts for equality in mass education, but limits development and adaptation. As the demands of greater society change and the needs of the labor market shift, an educational system must adapt in response. The United States and France thus face different challenges in reacting to this evolution. They must address these changing demands within the limitations of structure and cultural values produced by their original frameworks of political ideology.
Subject: Education -- Social aspects -- United States
Subject: Education -- Social aspects -- Cross-cultural studies
Subject: Education -- Social aspects -- France
Access Restrictions: Open Access
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Newshel, Amy. "The role of education as a cultural construct in the United States and France". 2004. Available electronically from

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