Front Page Titles (by Subject) Social Control - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
Social Control - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
This work is copyrighted by the Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, and is put online with their permission.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
“Pastoral Care: Concept and Process.” British Journal of Educational Studies (UK), 25 (1977): 124–135.
Pastoral Care in the fashionable British educational jargon refers to school counseling, guidance, and the noninstructional aspects of teachers and other school personnel. According to conventional wisdom, pastoral care (in the forms of academic counselors, vocational advisers, or personal counselors), appears to be a positive and convivial institution essential to education. But this optimistic assessment lacks both theoretical and empirical proof. The concept may realistically conceal a more sinister face.
If we examine pastoral care from a phenomenological approach, we notice that many of the taken-for-granted assumptions of those providing such care are more problematic. Pastoral care is not necessarily what it seems. An alternative interpretation, the pupil's viewpoint, often disparages pastoral care as a nuisance, a “crashing bore,” or an impossible, impractical, and largely unnecessary diversion from the important job of teaching. According to a “conflict model of society” we can question whether educational methods generally, and pastoral care services in particular, are benign. Such counseling services may not primarily be concerned with the problems of the pupil's welfare but rather with facilitating social control and administrative convenience.
Pastoral care also may create alienation in young students. The young may display “deviance” not as a result of “inadequate socialization” but as an understandable response for the student in the oppressive school environment. A direct causal link is evident between the growth of and need for pastoral care “structures,” and the increasing size of schools due to reorganization, mixed-ability teaching, and proliferating public examinations. These developments exacerbate old problems while spawning multitudes of new ones. This suggests that the apparently benign pastoral care may be a consciously evolved device for managing a potentially explosive school crisis. Pastoral care enables the teacher to remain “in control”; it serves further as a safety valve in the guise of “administration periods” that enable a school of over 1500 pupils to run smoothly and efficiently.
Pastoral care structures have also served to divide up the British schools into manageable units such as teams. The term itself has euphemistically cloaked corporal punishment. It has not genuinely guided or counseled many pupils. Finally, by confirming “deviants” in their role as “deviants,” pastoral care far from alleviating distress has served to stimulate and confirm it.
In short, schools often function as massive, depersonalizing, pseudoeducational factories where “anomie” expresses itself in violence and destructive acts. It does not surprise us that teachers and counselors have used every means, including pastoral care, to maintain some control.