Home Education versus Compulsory Schooling in Germany: The Contribution of Robert K. Merton’s Typology of Adaptation to an Understanding of the Movement and the Debate About its Legitimacy

  • Thomas Spiegler


This article is based on data from four years of research by the author examining home education in Germany (Spiegler, 2007). The project combined several qualitative methods such as participant observation, content analysis and qualitative interviews. The following information is subdivided into five parts. The first gives a short overview of home education in Germany, as this situation is in some respects unique and constitutes the basis for the following analysis. The second section introduces Merton’s typology of adaptation. The two following parts describe how representatives of schooling and home education define the positions within the typology, and the last section summarizes how Merton’s theoretical work contributes to a better understanding of home education.


Social Skill Deviant Behaviour School Attendance Informal Learning Compulsory School 
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© Thomas Spiegler 2015

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  • Thomas Spiegler

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