The term ‘social capital’ is a way of defining the intangible resources of community, shared values and trust upon which we draw in daily life. It has achieved considerable international currency across the social sciences through the very different work of Pierre Bourdieu in France and James Coleman and Robert Putnam in the United States, and has been widely taken up within politics and sociology as an explanation for the decline in social cohesion and community values in western societies. It (...) has also been adopted by policy makers, particularly in international governmental bodies such as the World Bank. (shrink)
In this paper, the authors address the perceived recent trend of funding and publishing bodies that seem to have taken a regard of qualitative research as a subordinate to, or even a subset of, quantitative research. In this reflection, they pull on insights that Hans-Georg Gadamer offered around the history of the natural and human science bifurcation, ending with a plea that qualitative research needs to be received, appraised, judged, and promoted by different lenses and criteria of value.
A recent critique by Hughes and Tight argued that the 'Learning Society 'and related notions of productivity and change are 'myths'. In response, it is argued here that myth should not be confused with ideological distortion. The rhetorical dimension of current initiatives is a necessary feature of theoretical formulation, intended to influence public discussion and policy-making. The concepts of productivity and change are reconsidered in a wider historical dimension and the communitarian aspects of the project are shown to have a (...) more positive significance in the light of, for example, recent work by Beck and Giddens on 'reflexivity 'and 'risk'. It is acknowledged that faith in the application of technological solutions to societal learning challenges is frequently misplaced. But fear that the project's aims might be subverted by interests hostile to humane educational values is insufficient reason for such scepticism, which is too narrowly grounded and is misdirected. (shrink)
The Science Museum, London, has recently acquired four fragments of a portable sundial with associated calendrical gearing. All the fragments are made of low zinc brass of substantially the same composition. The sundial is of a type known in other examples, some the products of recent archaeological excavations and all dated to the Late Antique or Early Byzantine period. Dating by the place names included in the latitude table, by the style of the heads of the planetary gods used to (...) identify the days of the week, and by the style of the script, all indicate that the instrument dates from the late fifth century of the Christian era or the first half of the sixth.The gearing, of which two arbors survive, carrying four toothed wheels and one ratchet, seems to have resembled that of a calendrical device described by al-Bīrūnī in about AD 1000. Like al-Bīrūnī's device and the geared calendar associated with a Persian astrolabe of AD 1221/2 now in the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, the Byzantine instrument displayed the shape of the Moon and its age in days. Probably the calendar further resembled its Islamic counterparts in also displaying the positions of Sun and Moon in the Zodiac.The emergence of Byzantine mathematical gearing indicates that the Hellenistic tradition attested by the Antikythera machine continued to be active in the Byzantine period, and suggests that it may have influenced the Islamic tradition. Once again an artefact has shown up the inadequacy of the evidence derived from literary sources. (shrink)
This paper deals with an analysis of debris produced during the polishing of diamond. The debris is carefully collected 'as ejected' to shorten the history of the freshly removed material. Using high-resolution electron microscopy as well as electron-energy-loss spectroscopy, the structure of the material is revealed and analysed in terms of density, percentage of sp 2 hybridized carbon, and oxygen content. Debris from polishing in the so-called hard and soft directions were involved in this investigation. Overall the structure of all (...) debris is amorphous carbon. The material appears to be composed of small clusters, some nanometres in diameter, in which the graphite basal planes can be recognized. Very few and very small nanometre-sized diamond particles were found in the debris from polishing in the hard direction. The results support a polishing mechanism based on a mechanically induced transformation of diamond to graphite, after which material removal easily occurs. The well-known anisotropy observed in polishing can be explained satisfactorily on the basis of this model. Finally, in appendices, the art of polishing and the role of the black powder during preparation of the scaife are discussed. (shrink)
This exploratory paper considers the concept of generation in the context of learning across the life course. Although researchers have often found considerable inequalities in participation by age, as well as strongly articulated attitudinal differences, there have so far been only a handful of studies that have explored these patterns through the perspective of generational formations. The paper is primarily conceptual, exploratory and reflective, setting out a number of approaches to the concept of generations, most of which derive largely from (...) debates with the ghost of Karl Mannheim; it then considers how these concepts of generation have been applied to understandings of educational inequalities in recent research in Germany and the Nordic nations. It then examines the dynamics of inter-generational relations in learning, drawing on research undertaken as part of the Teaching and Learning Research Programme. The paper argues that although inter-generational dynamics are a relatively neglected dimension of Anglophone research on life chances and learning, there is a strong case for understanding their dual roles in both inequality and cohesion. It concludes by outlining some themes and areas for further investigation in the future. (shrink)
Scholarship in education beyond school has developed largely outside university departments of education, and has rarely engaged systematically with the study of education in schools. The paper concentrates on three areas: adult education, higher education, and further education. The development of the extra-mural tradition meant that adult education was less an object of scholarly study than a means of spreading scholarship to the wider population, with important exceptions such as historical studies. Since the 1970s, the volume of research and postgraduate (...) education in adult education in British universities has grown considerably. The study of higher education was marginal until the 1960s; its subsequent development was relatively slow until the 1990s, when the quality of university teaching came under wider external scrutiny. The study of further education and vocational training is characterised by disciplinary fragmentation, with much activity taking place in departments of psychology, economics, sociology and management, as well as in those former polytechnics that specialised in training further education teachers. The rise of integrative concepts such as lifelong learning suggest greater potential for cross-disciplinary scholarship that can engage the diverse body of those interested in teaching and research about this field. (shrink)