Harvard Educational Review
  1. Fall 1997 Issue »

    Elite College Discrimination and the Limits of Conflict Theory

    Richard Farnum
    In this article, Richard Farnum critiques and offers a supplement to Jerome Karabel's 1984 article, "Status-Group Struggle, Organizational Interests, and the Limits of Institutional Autonomy: The Transformation of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, 1918–1940," an analytic model of educational change and the rise of discriminatory admissions in elite colleges and universities based on conflict theory. Farnum argues that a more complex and more complete understanding of discrimination in admissions, specifically the WASP exclusion of Jews and other minorities, can be achieved by broadening Karabel's concept of "interests" to include differences in educational philosophy, ideology, and institutional character of the elite colleges. He also argues that the model could be improved by analysis and inclusion of the shifting historical and functional context within which the interests of the elite and the colleges operated. Recognition of such changing social contexts, as well as institutional ideals and ideologies crucial to elite college perceptions of their organizational interests, suggests a process of change in which, over time, elite colleges experienced an increase in autonomy and became less dependent on the interests of their traditional constituency.

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    Fall 1997 Issue


    Dual-Language Immersion Programs
    A Cautionary Note Concerning the Education of Language-Minority Students
    Guadalupe Valdes
    Language in Thinking and Learning
    Pedagogy and the New Whorfian Framework
    Penny Lee
    Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Which Is the Fairest Test of All?
    An Examination of the Equitability of Portfolio Assessment Relative to Standardized Tests
    Jonathan A. Supovitz, Robert T. Brennan
    Elite College Discrimination and the Limits of Conflict Theory
    Richard Farnum
    The More We Get Together
    Improving Collaboration Between Educators and Their Lawyers
    Jay P. Heubert
    Further Comment
    Haithe Anderson, Patti Lather

    Book Notes

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