Successful Failure / Edition 1

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Overview


In this controversial work, Hervé Varenne and Ray McDermott explore education as cultural phenomenon—a construct of artifice and reality we impose upon ourselves. The authors discuss in five case studies how the American education system defines and measures success and failure, why there is polarization between suburban schools and urban schools, and what about our system leads us to focus on the negative. Their exploration focuses not on the people or the activities of the system, but on the institutions themselves: who decided what was a success or failure? How was the identification done, and with what consequences?This important and timely book is a must-read for anyone interested in educational reform, the American educational system, and the anthropology of education.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Rather than attempting to explain why certain children succeed in school while other fail, these authors argue from an anthropological perspective for the jettisoning of the entire success/failure model. After describing how, on one hand, students categorized as failure display remarkable intelligence with regard to coping with their environment and social contexts, and on the other, students branded as successful fear that they are always an exam away from failure, the authors discuss the succeed/fail paradigm as a constructed cultural artifact. They then set out to redefine how we look at the paradigm and words such as individual, identity, skill, ability, disability, intelligence, competence, proficiency, achievement, motivation, self- esteem, objective test, and grade level, by examining the concepts of success in failure and failure in success. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813391298
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 284
  • Sales rank: 842,787
  • Lexile: 1320L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Hervé Varenne is professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Ray McDermott is professor of education at Stanford University. Hervé Varenne is professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Ray McDermott is professor of education at Stanford University.
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Table of Contents

List of Figures
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 The Makings of Some Educational Facts
1 Adam, Adam, Adam, and Adam: The Cultural Construction of a Learning Disability 25
2 The Farrells and the Kinneys at Home: Literacies in Action 45
3 The Voice of the Choir, the Voices in the Choir 63
4 Joint Action on the Wild Side of Manhattan 86
5 Racing in Place 106
Pt. 2 Education and the Making of Cultural Facts
6 Disability as a Cultural Fact 131
7 Ways with Theoretical Words 157
8 Local Constructions of Educational Facts 183
Conclusion: Beyond Explaining Why
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Bibliography
Name Index
Subject Index
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