By Mary Jo Maynes
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5 These characterizations of the two opposing outlooks are, of course, highly simplified. This contrast is presented here to suggest the relevance of ideas about the function of schooling for understanding contemporary society, and to show the very different ways in which schooling can be regarded. These conflicting conceptions of the fundamental social character of education stem from basic disagreements about the nature of social relations and of historical change. And these basic disagreements recur in the discussion of all of the major questions around which social-historical revision has developedquestions about the identity and motivations of school reformers, the broad societal changes that made educational reform seem imperative toward the end of the eighteenth century all over the West, the connections between educational change and economic development, the role of schools in the evolution of class relations, the impact of school reform on family strategies in the context of early industrialization.
Overall trends in French literacy were first suggested in a nonrandom survey of parish registers carried out by Louis Maggiolo at the end of the nineteenth century. ) In Sweden, the other major locus of research, the ability to sign was rareonly about 20 percent of the total population, at the end of the eighteenth century. ) Page 14 Fig. 1. Estimated Illiteracy of Men and Women in England, 15001900 Fig. 2. Estimated Illiteracy of Men and Women in France, 16501900 SOURCES: D. Cressy, Literacy and the Social Order (Cambridge, 1980), p.
Rural workers under contract with these merchants produced goodsgenerally but not exclusively textilesfor mass markets. The entrepreneurs supplied raw materials and marketed the finished products. 10 A seventeenth-century English diary, that of a mercer's apprentice, demonstrates the daily usefulness of literacy even for the owner of little property: 30 Thursday (April 1663). I was sent for to Whitleige Greene this night to one William Marsh, who lay sicke and had seaverall times sent for me to write his will, which I did.