Tracking Three Traditions in the Historiography of Education Toward Comparative Methods

Cristiano Casalini, Laura Madella


From the epistemological point of view, the field of history of education has always been one of the most challenging for scholarship to define.

The roots of such a difficulty are multilayered and have barely emerged over time, but they have kept their grasp on the potential development of a field that could make an enormous contribution to the global understanding of one of the core practices of every human society.

In this chapter, we will dig into these roots, cutting across epistemological and geo-cultural perspectives, in order to provide a scenario that might overcome the impasse that impedes the global recognition of the scholarly and academic field of the history of education, and put forward a tentative outline of an approach that could pave the way for such recognition. This approach is based on the comparative method. It is not anything new, as it dwells in the Enlightened attitude toward universalism and comparativism for global literature, historiography, philosophy, and so on. But it has paradoxically found very few chances so far to be applied in the literature of the history of education.

This chapter will inquire into the reasons for this neglect, and outline an epistemology of a comparative method that might illustrate new ways of thinking about production for the future of the history of education.


epistemology; History of Education; comparative method; universalism; comparatism

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