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Dartington Revisited

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Carol Haine Naylor and Maurice Punch
De Hondsrug Pers (2012)

This is a memoir by Carol Naylor and Maurice Punch about their experiences of King’s College, Cambridge, and of the progressive Dartington Hall School over forty years ago.

A central figure is the late Royston Lambert, who in 1963 at King's pioneered research on British boarding schools and subsequently became the Headmaster at Dartington. A major thread is the difficulty of running, and particularly of researching, progressive educational institutions.

Lambert, as Carol Naylor relates, had problems trying to translate his innovative ideas into practice in the face of 'progressive conservatism' at Dartington: and Maurice Punch's research on former pupils of Dartington met a hostile response from ostensible libertarians with attempts to restrict access to the thesis at Essex University and to prevent its publication which was delayed for several years (Progressive Retreat, Cambridge University Press, 1977).

  • Dr Maurice Punch is a visiting professor at the Mannheim Centre of Criminology, LSE.

To obtain a copy of this book, contact Maurice Punch at m.punch@lse.ac.uk|.


'This is a deft and absorbing sociology of the sociology and sociologists of education. Reminiscent of a time when people like Lyman and Scott championed a sociology of the absurd, it centres itself on the besetting and sometime perverse contradictions of social life in the setting of a radical progressive school. It is also a close description of the fashion in which two scholars, Michael Young and Royston Lambert, sought to protect from scholarly scrutiny an educational institution whose analysis one of them had helped commission. And it is an analysis of familiar dilemmas associated with the sometimes anguished effort that can be made to impose rules and discipline on a libertarian community. Although social scientists are endlessly enjoined to be reflective nowadays, there are all too few academic disquisitions on the actual messy course of academic research, and we are much in debt to Naylor and Punch for this fascinating and, indeed, occasionally tragic-comic story of paradox, posturing and pride.'
Paul Rock, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, LSE.


Dartington Revisited