, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 27–40 | Cite as

The hidden curriculum and the nature of conflict

  • Michael W. Apple


There has been, so far, little examination of how the treatment of conflict in the school curriculum can lead to political quiescence and the acceptance by students of a perspective on social and intellectual conflict that acts to maintain the existing distribution of power and rationality in a society. This paper examines two areas—social studies and science—to indicate how an unrealistic and basically consensus-oriented perspective is taught through a “hidden curriculum” in schools. The argument centers around the fundamental place that forms of conflict have had in science and the social world and on the necessity of such conflict. The paper suggests that a greater emphasis in the school curriculum upon the ideal norms of science, e.g., organized skepticism, and on the uses of conflict could counterbalance the tacit assumptions being taught.


Great Emphasis Social World Social Study School Curriculum Ideal Norm 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


On n'a guère étudié jusqu'à présent comment la façon d'aborder le problème des incompatibilités dans le programme d'études peut contribuer à la paix politique et à l'acceptation par les étudiants d'une certaine perspective du conflit social et intellectuel qui contribue à la préservation de l'actuelle répartition de l'autorité et de la rationalité au sein d'une société. La présente communication étudie les deux domaines des sciences humaines et des sciences pures pour souligner comment, par le truchement d'un “programme d'études camouflé”, on enseigne dans les écoles une attitude qui manque de réalisme et qui est essentiellement fondée sur la notion d'unanimité. Le raisonnement de l'auteur se fonde surtout sur la position fondamentale qu'occupent certaines formes de conflit dans le domaine de la science et des problèmes sociaux et sur l'utilité de tels conflits. L'auteur estime que l'on pourrait faire contrepoids aux hypothèses tacites enseignées à l'heure actuelle, en mettant dans les programmes scolaires davantage l'accent sur les normes scientifiques idéales, autrement dit sur un scepticisme méthodique et sur les avantages des conflits en question.


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Copyright information

© The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael W. Apple
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WisconsinUSA

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