Soft Disciplines and Hard Battles*

Geetha B. Nambissan and S. Srinivasa Rao

in Sociology of Education in India

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780198082866
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199082254 | DOI:
Soft Disciplines and Hard Battles*

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This chapter examines the conception of education as a so-called ‘soft’ discipline in India. It explains the concept of soft and hard disciplines, and discusses the nature of education, knowledge, and their status as disciplines. It describes the character of the domain of education and the territorial interaction among various educational groups. This chapter also explores the epistemological and sociological approaches in organising knowledge communities along disciplinary lines, and explains the possible reasons why education was considered a soft discipline. It also analyses the impact of the knowledge economy on the disciplinary status of education. The author concludes by pointing out that, to the extent that it is concerned with children and the practices of public institutions within a democratic polity, education, cannot close and circumscribe its discourse community. However difficult it may be, it may be far more significant and paying to invest in ways to educate the wider common sense vis-à-vis education. For this, ways must be found to communicate the complexity of the problems lucidly and without compromising, demonstrate the value of knowing the discipline, and also to be able to argue against the simplification and misidentification of problems and their treatments.

Keywords: education in India; soft discipline; knowledge economy; education knowledge; disciplinary status; educational groups; knowledge communities; common sense and education

Chapter.  6561 words. 

Subjects: Sociology

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