PREPARED BY DR. GOGGI GUPTA
SIER ,PHASE -6 MOHALI
Sociology Of Education –NATURE,SCOPE
The word Sociology is derived from two Greek terms
Science of Society
The study of “man in society” gave emergence to a new discipline called sociology.
Sociology can be defined as the study of man and his environment in their relation
with each other.
August Comte (1798-1857) Father of Sociology
Comte was followed by Herbert Spencer (Eng.
Philosopher) writer of book ‘Principles of Sociology’
& who believed individual like a ‘cell’ and society like
“Sociology is the study of relationship between man and his human environment.”
-H P Fairchild
Sociology is the study of social relationships.
Thus Sociology is :
the science of society.
the science of social relationships.
the study of social life.
the study of human behavior. the study of social action.
the study of social groups and social systems.
Ginsberg--“Sociology is the study of the human
interaction and interrelation their condition and
Max Weber-- “Sociology is the science which
attempts the interpretative understanding of
Branch of sociology.
Studies relationship between education and
sociology and deals with its problems.
It is primarily concerned with social factors in
Educational sociology is the application of scientific spirit, methods and principles
of sociology to the study of education”.– M S Gore
Educational Sociology is sociology applied to the solution of fundamental
George Payne(USA);Father of educational sociology:
Educational Sociology is the science which describes and explains institutions,
groups and social processes in relation to the educational system in its evolution
and changing function”
-Ottaway “Educational sociology starts with the
assumption that education is an activity which
goes on in a society, and its aims and methods
depends on the nature of the society, in which it
-Brown “Educational sociology is the study of
interaction of the individual and his cultural
environment including other individuals, social
groups and patterns of behaviours.
According to George payne the father of educational
educational sociology is an applied science in the field of
Effect of learning on group life.
Effect of smaller group life upon the larger group.
It explains institutions, social norms, social groups,and social
processes i.e. social relationships.
According to George Payne, “
Educational sociology is the science
which describes and explains the institution i.e.
the social relationship in
which the individual gains and organizes
Scope of sociology of education
It is concerned with such general concepts such as society itself, culture,
community, class, environment, socialization, internalization,
accommodation, assimilation, cultural lag, sub-culture, status, role and so
It is further involved in cases of education and social class, state, social
force, cultural change, various problems of role structure, role analysis in
relation to the total social system and the micro society of the school
such as authority, selection, and the organization of learning, streaming,
curriculum and so forth.
It deals with analysis of educational situations in various geographical
contexts. Eg. Educational situations in rural, urban and tribal areas, in
different parts of the country/world, with the background of different
races, cultures etc.
It helps us to understand the effectiveness of different
educational methods in teaching students with different
kinds of intelligences.
It studies the effect of economy upon the type of
education provided to the students. Eg. education
provided in schools
It helps us to understand the effect of various social
agencies like family, school on the students.
It studies the relationship between social class, culture,
language, parental education, occupation and the
achievement of the students
It studies the role and structure of school, peer group on
the personality of the students
It provides an understanding of the problems such as,
communalism, gender discrimination etc.
It studies the role of schools in socialization of the students.
It suggests ways to develop national integration, international
understanding, the spirit of scientific temper , globalization
among the students
It promotes research studies related to planning, organization
and application of various theories in education.
Theories /approaches of Sociology of
In an effort to understand how society works, different
sociologists start with different assumptions about the basic
character of human social life.
There are some who see order and stability as more important
than conflict and change; while others take the opposite view.
Some view the larger institutional structures of society while
others focus on human interaction in small groups. Thus,
sociologists have theoretical perspectives which will help them
select the questions that they will ask about social life and the
methods they use to seek answers to these questions.
Ponder over these few questions:
Why do things happen the way they are in society?
What determines the way we perceive an individual or
What leads to conflict and competition among
What leads individuals to be attracted to others?
Do you know that there are three types of theoretical approaches , namely
1. Functionalist Theory
2. Conflict Theory
3. Interactionist Theory
1. Functionalist Theory ( Emile Durkheim )
This theory is based on the assumption that a society
is a complex system which works together to
It emphasizes the way in which each part of a society
contributes to the whole so as to maintain stability.
According to this approach:
Society and institutions in
society (such as education)
Society is much like the
human body. Like parts of
body, the parts of society
work together in a
systematic way that is
usually good for the whole.
Each part helps to maintain
the state of balance that is
needed for the system to
Society is represented by
namely, family, religion,
economics and health.
Every unit must work and contribute to the functioning of the whole society. Every unit plays a
role in the total system and are dependent on each other for survival.
Heart and brain are essential for human being to live. An education system is necessary for the
survival of a society.
The important aspects of this theory are:
It consists of functions and structures – which contribute to the stability of society.
Integration – between all units and institutions in the society.
Maintain the stability in society.
Encourages changes to promote progress in society.
Importance of formal and non formal education in the socialization process of educating children; to uphold values and norms of the society (education as means of socialization ).
As for the functionalist perspective, the school serves very similar
functions and the five main social functions of education have been
identified as (a) socialization, (b) social control, (c) selection and allocation,
(d) assimilation of newcomers and (e) social innovation and change.
Social control is where school expected to persuade their students
that it is necessary to behave according to these principles.
Students are graded not only on how well they learn but also on
how well they cooperate, how orderly they are and also even on
personal grooming. Social control functions of education extends
well beyond socialization. School serves as custodial institutions
for the nation’s young, keeping children off the streets.
Selection and allocation of
people to enter particular
occupational positions rests with
Assimilation is the absorption of
newcomers into the dominant
society. Assimilation functions in
schools is geared towards
including the poor and
disadvantaged in the main
stream of society, whether or
not they are recent immigrants.
Education contributes to change by
spreading and producing new knowledge,
values and beliefs.
Besides new knowledge, education
organization also produce and
disseminated new values and beliefs that
can be potent generators of social change
1.1.2 Conflict Theory (Max, Weber )
This theory is based on the assumption that society is a complex system characterized by inequality and
conflicts that generate social change.
According to this theory, there are 3 important elements:
The conflict theory emphasizes on the
struggle over limited resources, power
and prestige as a permanent aspect of
societies and a major source of social
Based on the assumption that the parts
of sociology, far from being smoothly
functioning units of a whole, actually are
in conflict with one another.
According to this theory, the functions of education are :
§ Stratification tool for the capitalist society.
§ Social control
School is a training ground for workers
in terms of attitude, technical skills,
intellectual abilities etc.
So who do you think students are
trained for the lower hierarchy job in
the industrial sector?
According to this theory, students with low academic achievement are chosen for lower hierarchy
jobs. These students normally are from the low income group .
Children from rich families have access to many privileges (example: access to the best
education) normally score high academic grades. They are the ones who secure the better jobs.
Conflict theorists see education principally as a
tool by the ruling classes to perpetuate social
inequality, both by controlling access to
schooling and by training docile, disciplined
Can you relate the idea of this theory in our
present education system? Does our present
education system serves as a means of
stratification tool and social control?
1.1.3 Interactionist Theory
This theory is based on the assumption that society is involved in interaction by which individuals
actively construct reality in everyday life. The major characteristics of the theory are-
Focuses on how people interact in their everyday lives and how they make sense of this interaction.
Focuses on individuals’ interaction with one another.
Interactionist is concerned with the nature of daily interaction on the society and how this interaction
is perceived by people
They study individuals and small groups rather than large scale social structures. They observe human behaviour at such close range, interactionists
tend to see people as having more freedom of actions –more freedom from the constraints of society.
The important principles of this theory are:
- individual’s interaction ( through shared symbols & meanings ) enable him to think.
- individual’s action and interaction develop into groups and societies.
- every individual will influence the other.
Individuals with similar culture and background
will define and interpret social situations in
similar ways because of their similar socialization,
experiences and expectations. Their behaviour is
guided by common norms.
However, differences do exists due to individual
experiences, social class and economic status
Consider this situation:
A teacher walking past a classroom may generate a positive feeling to some
students and nervousness and anxiety in others. These reactions happen because
we tend to respond to others according to the different labels we attach.
Now, let’s ponder for a while. How do Educational Sociologist explain the
achievement using this theory?
In education, this theory focuses on the common, ordinary interactions between
members in a school such as among peer groups, teachers and students, teachers and
principals to explain the following aspects, namely:
§ students’ achievement
§ students’ attitudes
§ students’ values
§ students’ self concept and aspirations
§ socio-economic status
§ grouping of students
Now reflect your past experiences. Can
you recall of any interaction with any of
the school members (peers, teachers,
principals) in relation to your values,
attitudes, achievement, etc.