Thursday, May 8, 2008

Holocultural Testing

This is the first of several posts where I will briefly review the works of comparative education scholars and place them along an epistemological spectrum. For this post, I’m looking at holocultural testing.

Herzog, J.D. 1962. Deliberate Instruction and household Structure: A Cross-Cultural Study,” in Scientific Investigation in Comparative Education, ed. M.A. Eckstein and H.J. Noah, 251-292. London: Collier Macmillian.

In what Erwin Epstein considers a “fringe epistemology” on the spectrum used in this essay, John Herzog approach falls within the holocultural testing approach to comparative education. Holocultural testing, while surprisingly influenced by anthropology, is very nomothetic in its approach to comparative education. Herzog employs a unique cross-cultural method in analyzing the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF). In the discussion of the basic theoretical orientation implemented in his research, Herzog regards the institutions of a culture “first as ‘maintenance systems,’ through which the culture makes its ecological adjustments; and second as ‘cultural solutions’ to the psychological problems which the maintenance arrangements produce. The maintenance systems of a society also affect its techniques of child training, and thus the processes of socialization which its children experience.”
[1] Herzog describes the interplay of maintenance systems and socialization practices and mentions that “maintenance systems influence the nature of the projective institutions which a society may have; but the psychological outcome of a society’s child-training also strongly influence the nature of these institutions.”[2] While Herzog’s work is on the fringe of the nomothetic approach to comparative education there are others such as Erwin Epstein and David Zern, among others, who have also produced works under this theoretical approach.

[1] Page 260.
[2] Page 261.

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