Developments in the Sociology of Education in Ireland 1966-1991

Drudy, Sheelagh (1991) Developments in the Sociology of Education in Ireland 1966-1991. p. 107. ISSN 07916035


According to the author, in this article of twenty-five years of Irish sociology of education he had chosen to take as a point of departure the publication in the Republic of the OECD report on the Irish educational system, Investment in Education, in 1966. This was a landmark in Irish education, and from the point of view of Irish sociology there are some ironies in this. It was the first comprehensive analysis of the educational system in the Republic. It highlighted many of the problems and deficiencies within the system and was the forerunner and the inspiration of many of the great changes, which were to take place during the following years. As regards analytical weakness, it is obviously difficult to generalize about a large number of studies. There are variations. What is very clear about Irish sociology is its very strong empirical tradition. While there is nothing wrong with empiricism in it, indeed any body of knowledge would be impoverished without it, there is clearly room in Irish sociology of education for greater grappling with theoretical issues and for the more widespread use of ethnographic techniques of investigation. There is also a need at this point; the author argues, for a re-examination of the influence of agencies external to the state on educational developments, in particular the influence of agencies of the European Community.

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