Community Participation in Urban Schooling: A Critical Assessment


  • Donald J. Dawson Department of Recreology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Canada


The notion of community participation in urban education is analyzed. The author examines the “social reproduction” thesis in which community participation can be seen as merely a symbolic vehicle of legitimation whose ultimate function is to obtain quiescence and promote social adjustment. The view that community participation in schooling is a major strategy in urban educational and social reorganization is then analyzed from a theoretical perspective provided by the phenomenological, “interpretative” framework. Finally, the author argues that in order to appreciate community participation in education as an emancipatory democratic activity, one must adopt a synthetic view incorporating the phenomenological aspects of the interpretative approach within the framework of an analysis of educational hegemony.