School, State, and Society

The Growth of Elementary Schooling in Nineteenth-Century France--A Quantitative Analysis
Raymond Grew and Patrick J. Harrigan
A study of elementary education in France in the 1800s


School, State, and Society is a comprehensive analysis of French elementary education in the nineteenth century. It begins in the decades before the Guizot law of 1833, which made the establishment of public schools in every commune France’s national policy, and continues ti 1906, just after Church and state were formally separated and Catholic schools officially abolished. Grew and Harrigan base their study on the vast amount of statistical information that was systematically collected in France beginning in the 1830s. This information was put into machine-readable form for computer analysis.
School, State, and Society examines several important aspects of elementary schools in France in the nineteenth century: the availability of schooling; enrollment; different types of schools (Catholic and lay, public and private); schooling for girls versus schooling for boys; elementary teachers’ the elementary school as an institution and the links between elementary education and further instruction; and budgets and expenditures. The analysis revises some standard interpretations of the role of Catholic schools and of a nationally centralized system. The picture that emerges challenges some common impressions – among them that schooling in France progressed slowly and late, that it had to overcome great local resistance, and that the enrollment of girls long lagged behind that of boys.

Praise / Awards

  • "Formidable."

  • "An invaluable contribution to the history of French education in the 19th century."

  • ". . . a significant contribution to the field."
    French Politics and Society

  • "The book resulting from Gew and Harrigan's extended labours has enormous value for specialists in the history of French education and also for social historians. The authors bring numerical detail to the major topics of school enrollments, Catholic Church involvement in public as well as private education, girls' education, the professionalization of teaching, and governmental spending on education."
    Historical Studies in Education/Revue d'histoire de l'éducation

  • "Grew and Harrigan's well-researched book contains a number of remarkable conclusions which considerably revise the traditional picture of the development of primary education in France."
    History of Education Quarterly

  • ". . . a finely structured statistical analysis covering an entire century and involving every region in France, which greatly enhances our understanding of French social and educational history and the modernization process and which considerably revises established views of nineteenth-century French education."
    History of Education Quarterly

  • "Drawing upon an immense amount of data and buttressed by a solid foundation in the secondary literature, Grew and Harrigan have written a path breaking study of the development of French elementary education that settles several interpretative disputes and can serve as a model for future efforts to examine national school systems."
    Journal of Social History

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 336pp.
  • 11 graphs, 87 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 1992
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10095-8

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  • $89.95 U.S.