Education in a New Society: The Growing Interpenetration of Education in Modern Life

April 2012

Education increasingly interpenetrates virtually every aspect of modern life. Vertically, more and more people are spending longer periods of their lives in school of various sorts. Schooling is also growing horizontally—as it increasingly structures where people live, who they marry, and how they raise their children—among other domains.

Finally, education is also growing metaphorically, providing cognitive templates for organizing arenas of social life that were previously non-schooled. These shifts have had consequences for our society, politics, and even notions of self. These themes were explored in a number of classic works in the 1960s and 1970s when the shift to a knowledge economy first became apparent, but they have not been revisited over the past 40 years.

This workshop seeks to open up a new set of questions around the relationship between education and different spheres of social life, create connections among social scientists working in different subfields, and open up a research agenda for the years to come.