University of Tasmania

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Class and state high schooling in Tasmania, 1913-1925

posted on 2023-05-26, 23:34 authored by Fearnley-Sander, Mary
This thesis is concerned with investigating a particular historical situation to see if it supports R.W. Connell's account of the competitive academic curriculum as a hegemonic mechanism for the sorting of ruling class and working class children for the labour market. The particular historical situation is the start of high schooling in Tasmania 1913-1925. The historical inquiry is a micro study of a school enrolment and its wider community of class relations. The notion of the competitive academic curriculum as a hegemonic mechanism is dependent on prior assumptions, both theoretical and historical, which conceptually organise the historical field of inquiry and are themselves considered in the thesis for their operability in a particular historical situation. Thus from an opening account of Connell's class theory, the thesis looks in a series of inquiries for a ruling class identifiable on Connell's criteria; at evidence for Connell's mode of ruling class rule and for the existence of hegemonic relations in the curricula established in the period in both the University and the high school. The culmination of the inquiry is the study, contextualised in this way, of the performance of the working class and ruling class students enrolled at Hobart High. In seeking empirical support for Connell's findings, an historical inquiry was undertaken which has significance in its own right. The basis of the study of the students' class and participation is the enrolment register of the school which includes a remarkable amount of detailed information about the 2245 students who attended school in these years and from which the student class and outcomes were reconstructed. Further research was required to supplement the enrolment register material; to identify the business leadership in the community of southern Tasmania and influences on the determination of the curricula in both educational institutions. The outcomes in this study for the hegemonic structure of relationships of the academic curriculum with other curricula were unexpected, but Connell's model of class practice provided a satisfying theoretical grip on one of the main findings of this thesis which is the relationship between the construction of teachers and the maintenance of the status of the academic curriculum.


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Thesis (M.Ed.)--University of Tasmania, 1996. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 156-161)

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