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Sociology, Basis for the Secondary-School Subject of Social Sciences

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Abstract:

This paper reformulates the question of ‘sociology, who needs it’ in two ways, The first question we address is that of the reason why the educational system itself did not come to sociology for help in their long quest for a clear-cut content of the subject. The second question is why sociology did not adopt the orphaned subject of social studies back in 1960. The answer to the first question lies in the vulnerability of a subject that is dependent for its continued existence on the political leanings of the day. This led to a new goal for the subject almost every decade: from social education in the sixties and social and political education in the seventies, to a focus on citizenship education in the nineties. Although the objective was renamed on several occasions, the prescriptive viewpoint is recognizable in each. This perspective is difficult to reconcile with a social science content. The answer to the second questions points towards Dutch social scientists with a strong focus on academic sociology and not for critical, policy or public sociology. This choice was also made in order to win the competition with psychologists and for the discipline to get rid of the poor image it had acquired in the 1960s. The new subject social sciences, with a strong focus on science made it possible for sociology to become the pillar of this new subject.

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