Dr. Torres’ areas of theoretical research focus on the relationship between culture and power, the interrelationships of economic, political, and cultural spheres, and the multiple and contradictory dynamics of power among and within social movements that make education a site of permanent conflict and struggle.
His empirical research focuses on the impact of globalisation in Latin America, especially on higher education in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. Dr. Torres’ theoretical and empirical research has resulted in the development of a political sociology of education, highlighted in his much-heralded book with Raymond Morrow, Social Theory and Education. He is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on Latin American Studies, and the principal biographer of Brazilian philosopher and critical social theorist, Paulo Freire.
Over the last thirty years, Dr. Torres has contributed to three fields: Latin American Studies, Sociology of Education and Comparative and International Education. In his theoretical work, Dr. Torres has accounted for the major shifts and transformations, national and global, that deeply impacted these fields. A book he wrote with Raymond Morrow, Social Theory and Education, is considered the standard text on theories and meta-theories in Sociology of Education. A book he edited with Robert Arnove, Comparative Education: The Dialectics of the Global and the Local, now in its fourth edition, is the textbook of choice for more than fifty Comparative Education programmes in the English-speaking world. Another of his books, Education, Democracy and Multiculturalism: Dilemmas of Citizenship in a Global World, translated in several languages, suggested new agendas for these fields. All three books contain critical interpretations of cultural and social reproduction theory, theories of the state, analyses of multiculturalism, feminism and other approaches to social diversity, inequality, and the struggle for social justice education.
For the last decade, Dr. Torres has been working from a global perspective that encompasses human rights, pluralism and citizenship, wresting education away from state dominance, and the globalization of economies, communications and labour forces. The question of educating the global citizen is at the top of his research agenda. Understanding the educational policies of the new social democratic governments in Brazil and Argentina, and the impact of the new social movements constitutes the next empirical phase of his research.