This book systematically analyzes the evidence on four key issues that have divided commentators on the community college: The community college's impact on students, business, and the universities; the factors behind its rise since 1900; the causes of its swift vocationalization after 1960; and what direction the community college should take in the future.
Kevin J. Dougherty is Associate Professor of Sociology at Manhattan College.
"In this comprehensive and brilliantly lucid book, Kevin Dougherty considers competing ideas about the community colleges—ideas offered by functionalist advocates, instrumentalist Marxist critics, and institutionalist critics. In offering his own perspective, he sheds new light on the issues. He analyzes how various outcomes occur, identifies an important additional set of players, namely government officials, and specifies how business constrains actions by those officials. The book is essential reading for educational administrators and policy-makers, sociologists of education, political sociologists, and everyone concerned with equal educational opportunity. " — Caroline Hodges Persell, New York University
"Dougherty's The Contradictory College is one of the most important books in the sociology of higher education to appear in the past decade. His distinctive theoretical perspective, applied in careful case studies of the important states of California, Washington, Illinois and New York, sheds critical new light on the development of the community college over the past century. This is a sophisticated and challenging work that should be of interest not only to students of education, but also to those who are interested in the politics of organizational choice. " — Jerome Karabel, University of California at Berkeley
"With the publication of The Contradictory College Kevin Dougherty solidifies his membership in the ranks of the most thoughtful and important scholars of the American community college. This book is a major scholarly achievement that will stand the test of time to be considered one of the significant works on the topic. It should be read by everyone concerned about the welfare and future of the community college. " — Ernest Pascarella, The University of Illinois at Chicago
"Kevin Dougherty has written an important book that brings new data and new insights on the development and functions of the community college. He demonstrates that debates over state theory have profound relevance for analyzing educational policy. This book makes a provocative contribution to our understanding of how power works in this society. " — Fred Block, University of California at Davis
"Whenever Kevin Dougherty writes about the community college, it behooves us to pay close attention. Professor Dougherty is among the most thoughtful, careful, and challenging thinkers examining the educational, economic, and social role of the community college. " — Judith S. Eaton, Council for Aid to Education