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About the SeriesThe SAGE Key Concepts series provides students with accessible and authoritative knowledge of the essential topics in a variety of disciplines. Cross-referenced throughout, the format encourages critical evaluation through understanding. Written by experienced and respected academics, the books are indispensable study aids and guides to comprehension.Key Concepts in Education provides students with over 100 essential themes, topics and expressions that Education students are likely to encounter, both during their courses and beyond in professional practice. Co-authored to draw on experiences of working within academia, local authorities and the classroom, the entries provide:a definition of the concepta description of the historical and practical contextan explanation of how the concept is appliedan evaluation of the concepthelpful references and suggested further readingThis book will be essential reading for students of Education, and an invaluable reference tool for their professional careers. About the AuthorsFred Inglis is Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Sheffield. Lesley Aers is a senior member of a local authority school improvement service and an Ofsted inspector. Both authors are former schoolteachers.  


The origins of the word are, of course, found in the name of ‘liberty’, or freedom herself. The adjective ‘liberal’ comes first to be used in the seventeenth century as referring to a particular class of free men, bound by none of the laws or conventions of a then disintegrating feudalism, and thereafter (by 1700 or so) the word collected its more modern associations with both open-handedness (‘liberal with one's gifts’) and with freedom of thought, creativity and speculation (supplying the title among the disciplines of learning of ‘the liberal arts’).

During the period of the Enlightenment in the second half of the eighteenth century, when philosophical innovation and political upheaval went hand-in-hand, ‘liberal’ began to gather to itself associations of moral, political and religious ...

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