Comparative Education: Historical Reflections

  • Andreas M. Kazamias
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 22)

The term comparative education (CE) is not a mono-faceted or monophonic concept/intellectual system. It is an inter- and multidisciplinary ‘human science’, an episteme in Nicholas Hans’ sense of Vergleichende Erziehungwissenschaft (Hans, 1959: 299). Historically, the genealogical roots of CE have been traced to the ‘modernist’ epoch of the European Enlightenment of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Since that time, comparative studies of educational systems, problems, phenomena or processes have been conceptualised, approached and constructed from a variety of perspectives, through a variety of methodological prisms/lenses, and using a variety of research methods and techniques. Like the Greek mythical demigod Proteus, CE at different historical periods has donned different attire, woven by differently coloured epistemological, methodological and ideological threads. Consequently, it has appeared in a variety of guises refl ecting to a large degree, the intellectual, methodological and cultural strands and fads of the times. Hence, the appellation of CE as a protean episteme (Kazamias, 2001). To put it differently, in refl ecting historically on CE as a ‘human science’, as this chapter purports to do, I shall ‘theorise’ about ‘generations’ and ‘types’ of comparative education discourse.


National System Historical Approach Chicago School Human Capital Theory Comparative Discourse 
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.


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  • Andreas M. Kazamias

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