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A Political Sociology of Education and Development in Latin America

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This article argues that a political sociological perspective facilitates analysis of the potential and limitations of education to contribute to national development in Latin America. Such a perspective enables policy makers, practitioners, and researchers to take into account historical forces, institutional contradictions, and contextual factors, both national and international, that shape the possibilities of educational and social change occurring-and whether such change benefits the least privileged members of a society. A political sociology perspective necessarily involves an analysis of the role of the state and how conditioned capitalist development shapes education policy in the region. In particular, the authors examine how the structural adjustment policies recommend by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and national technical assistance agencies like the USAID have affected the governance, financing, and provision of education to various populations. Case studies of Nicaragua, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil illustrate how these policies have affected equality of educational opportunity and outcomes.

Affiliations: 1: School of Education, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405; 2: Latin American Center, University of California at Los Angeles, CA 90095; 3: Department of History, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, U.S.A.


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