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Saving Youth from Idleness and Poverty: Vocational Education as a Way towards Discipline and Livelihood in Argentina (1880–1920) and China (1917–1937)

Schulte, Barbara LU and Verónica, Oelsner (2007) ISCHE 29 (International Standing Conference of the History of Education)
Abstract
During the second half of the 19th century, both China and Argentina experienced accelerated economic, political, and social changes. To become a 'modern' nation was an integral part of both countries' efforts to deal with these transformations. Education played a key role in this nation-building process: it was expected to shape the national citizen and, thereby, the nation. However, with regard to industrialisation processes and social transformations, it was above all vocational education that was considered essential in educating – and disciplining – the masses who could or should not afford to pursue their studies at higher education institutions. In times of large (im-)migration flows, workers' strikes, and calls for democratisation,... (More)
During the second half of the 19th century, both China and Argentina experienced accelerated economic, political, and social changes. To become a 'modern' nation was an integral part of both countries' efforts to deal with these transformations. Education played a key role in this nation-building process: it was expected to shape the national citizen and, thereby, the nation. However, with regard to industrialisation processes and social transformations, it was above all vocational education that was considered essential in educating – and disciplining – the masses who could or should not afford to pursue their studies at higher education institutions. In times of large (im-)migration flows, workers' strikes, and calls for democratisation, vocational education was expected to bring benefit both to the country's and the individual's development: it was to foster industrialisation; and it was to equip individuals – and most of all, adolescents – with work-related knowledge and discipline. Thus, vocational education was not only seen as contributing to the masses' livelihood; it was also seen as a tool to achieve or stabilise certain social orders by erasing destabilising factors such as 'idleness' or 'poverty'. The debates around vocational education targeted mainly those adolescents who were considered 'at risk'.

In this paper, we will shed light on how vocational education was perceived in Argentina (1880-1920) and China (1917-1937) as a means to attend to children and youth of the lowest social strata. We will concentrate on the debates led by politicians and educators, and will analyse their arguments on the basis of educational periodicals and official reports. By looking at these two very different cultural contexts, we will examine how certain conceptions of vocational education arose from (sometimes similar, sometimes divergent) circumstances. Our argument is that these perceptions were framed both by more general modernisation processes and by specific historical contingencies: on the one hand, the concern about the on-going social transformations made the actors look for new strategies to deal with these changes, such as vocational education; on the other hand, particular forms of social organisation as well as social visions and values regarding labour, education and vocation shaped vocational education in specific ways, thus creating context-specific links between the programme of vocational education and the 'social question'. (Less)
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organization
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Contribution to conference
publication status
unpublished
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conference name
ISCHE 29 (International Standing Conference of the History of Education)
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
e9b9fa78-c3c2-496f-92e5-8b7b89a3d7b9 (old id 5367226)
date added to LUP
2015-05-08 09:03:35
date last changed
2016-04-16 11:09:43
@misc{e9b9fa78-c3c2-496f-92e5-8b7b89a3d7b9,
  abstract     = {During the second half of the 19th century, both China and Argentina experienced accelerated economic, political, and social changes. To become a 'modern' nation was an integral part of both countries' efforts to deal with these transformations. Education played a key role in this nation-building process: it was expected to shape the national citizen and, thereby, the nation. However, with regard to industrialisation processes and social transformations, it was above all vocational education that was considered essential in educating – and disciplining – the masses who could or should not afford to pursue their studies at higher education institutions. In times of large (im-)migration flows, workers' strikes, and calls for democratisation, vocational education was expected to bring benefit both to the country's and the individual's development: it was to foster industrialisation; and it was to equip individuals – and most of all, adolescents – with work-related knowledge and discipline. Thus, vocational education was not only seen as contributing to the masses' livelihood; it was also seen as a tool to achieve or stabilise certain social orders by erasing destabilising factors such as 'idleness' or 'poverty'. The debates around vocational education targeted mainly those adolescents who were considered 'at risk'.<br/><br>
In this paper, we will shed light on how vocational education was perceived in Argentina (1880-1920) and China (1917-1937) as a means to attend to children and youth of the lowest social strata. We will concentrate on the debates led by politicians and educators, and will analyse their arguments on the basis of educational periodicals and official reports. By looking at these two very different cultural contexts, we will examine how certain conceptions of vocational education arose from (sometimes similar, sometimes divergent) circumstances. Our argument is that these perceptions were framed both by more general modernisation processes and by specific historical contingencies: on the one hand, the concern about the on-going social transformations made the actors look for new strategies to deal with these changes, such as vocational education; on the other hand, particular forms of social organisation as well as social visions and values regarding labour, education and vocation shaped vocational education in specific ways, thus creating context-specific links between the programme of vocational education and the 'social question'.},
  author       = {Schulte, Barbara and Verónica, Oelsner},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Saving Youth from Idleness and Poverty: Vocational Education as a Way towards Discipline and Livelihood in Argentina (1880–1920) and China (1917–1937)},
  year         = {2007},
}