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Revue française de pédagogie, n°188/2014

Sociologie et didactiques : traverser les frontières

Edited by Philippe Losego

Revue française de pédagogie - Recherches en éducation

Sociology and didactics : crossing boundaries

The benefit of connecting sociology and didactics is increasingly evident to education observers. On one hand, sociology cannot understand the contribution of school to social inequalities without dealing with the mechanisms of differential learning, especially between pupils from different social groups. In turn, didactics cannot keep working with models that envisage a "universal" pupil whose relationship to knowledge fulfils teachers' expectations and the tacit content of programmes.

The present issue, partially drawn from an international conference held at the Haute école pédagogique (Teacher Training College) of Lausanne in 2012, examines the possibilities of connecting the two areas of studies and the constraints this implies. It presents the contributions of two mathematics didacticians, a curricula sociologist and two sociologist/didactician duos. Those contributions are “in action” assessments of the possibilities of connection. Claire Margolinas argues that, based on the learning of enumeration, sociology and didactics can be seamlessly integrated conceptually. In contrast, the studies of the two duos (Patrick Rayou and Gérard Sensevy on one hand, Sylvain Broccolichi and Eric Roditi on the other hand) show a conceptual division of work.

Following another approach, Aurélie Chesnais, as a didactician and based on a case study, and François Baluteau, as a sociologist and based on a literature review, illustrate that it is possible to analytically isolate didactic effects (effects of didactic choices) from social effects (effects of the school mix on teaching methods). This opens a wide field of research into sociology and didactics working together.