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This monograph celebrates the 50th anniversary of Michael Young's iconic book "The Rise of the Meritocracy" by analysing the ideas behind meritocracy, citizenship and education and offering an extension to Young's initial findings.Young's iconic book "The Rise of the Meritocracy", not only coined the word meritocracy but contained a prescient warning about the dangers of pursuing the vision of a meritocratic society.This fascinating book takes this anniversary as its starting point for an analysis and critique of meritocracy, citizenship and education. Part I begins with two substantial chapters - the first discussing Young's book and its influence, and the second the revival of support for meritocracy under New Labour in the UK, with particular reference to its implications for education; the third chapter then examines and critiques the ways New Labour has interpreted the idea of active citizenship.Part II examines issues of continuity and change in New Labour policy on schools, the curriculum, and the professions (especially but not only the teaching profession).Issues raised in Part I are revisited in Part III, which is devoted to an analysis of policy responses to the problems of multiculturalism and their relation to immigration policy and ideas of a common civic culture in both Britain and overseas.
In all the sections, the aim is to go beyond exposition to develop a sustained critique, particularly of New Labour's over-centralizing tendencies and the associated erosion of local and institutional democracy.
John Beck lectures in the Sociology of Education and Curriculum Studies in the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. He was previously Head of Education Studies at Homerton College, Cambridge where he is still a Fellow