Toward a Complex Coherence in the Field of Curriculum Studies

  • Theodore M. ChristouEmail author
  • Christopher DeLuca


The purpose of this chapter is to consider the current state of curriculum studies within its present context by identifying three tensions within the field. These tensions are not new. They have been articulated and explored throughout the history of curriculum studies, yet they persist because they are the fundamental issues that shape curriculum scholarship. Hence, their persistent re-telling is necessary, especially in light of current socio-political contexts and international influences. We position these tensions within the complex field of curriculum studies, conceived of as a conversation, and divided into diverse interest groups. Underpinning these tensions is our desire to increase the validity and the utility of curriculum studies for the greater good—to consider these tensions as generative spaces that can provoke greater inclusivity and coherence within our field. The tensions articulated in this chapter are (a) contemporaneity, (b) discursive balkanization, and (c) methodological diffusion. Our argument is predicated on analysis of curriculum scholarship pursuant to Schwab’s 1969 claim of curriculum’s moribundity and Pinar’s 1978 declaration of a reconceptualist paradigm for curriculum studies. Our argument concludes with a call for re-visioning curriculum studies as a conversation that is historically grounded and framed within boundaries and methodologies that enable complex coherence.


Curriculum studies Complicated conversations Curriculum theory Curriculum paradigms 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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