This book traces national policies behind the efforts of integrating education systems in Europe. In some regions of Europe, such as the Nordic countries, a high level of social integration was achieved by introducing radical comprehensive education systems. By contrast, in countries such as Germany and England, comprehensive education either failed almost completely, or was only partially implemented. Based on a wide-ranging historical analysis, this book offers the first fully comparative explanation of the divergent development of comprehensive education in Europe.
"With this book, Wiborg presents 'the great narrative' of Scandinavian education history, which is the history of comprehensive education. Based on an analysis which is much broader in scope than her predecessors, she offers a nuanced, insightful and rich theory of why Scandinavia diverted from Europe in pursuing education that integrates social cohesion and academic standards." - Alfred O. Telhaug, Professor, University of Oslo, Norway
"Wiborg presents a clearly argued account of the complex interaction of politics and the events that have led some European countries to embrace a comprehensive ideal and others to reject it. Her understanding of the developments in the five chosen countries is impressive. This book is essential reading for all who are interested in comparative historical sociology and for those seeking to use theory to improve educational practice." - Peter Mortimore, Former Director of the Institute of Education, University of London and International Professor, University of Southern Denmark, 2008
"Susanne Wiborg presents an extremely well-researched and highly detailed historiography of the political development of educational integration within Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, and to a lesser extent Germany and England. As such it is a valuable historical text on the comparative development of an important stage of integrated education policy." - Jacky Brine, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK, in the British Journal of Sociology of Education
"The book certainly rises to its ambitious challenge. In fact, it has the potential to inspire other work in comparative education aimed at avoiding the determinism of previous grand sociological approaches to comparative education and insists, at the same time, on the necessity to develop theories that are valid across countries, thus underlining similarities, and not idiosyncrasies, in the process of educational change." - European Educational Research Journal