Sociology of Education: Theoretical and Conceptual Perspectives

  • Ali A. Abdi
  • Ailie Cleghorn


The objective of this first chapter is to provide an understanding of the ways in which educational systems, structures, and processes connect with various aspects of society, including dominant values, political goals, and ideologies. Key terms, major concepts, and theories in sociology of education will be introduced so that the reader is equipped to reflect on, contextualize, and understand the content of the subsequent chapters from both an insider’s (emic) as well as outsider’s (etic) perspective. In the first section of this chapter we give a definition of sociology; many of the terms and concepts in sociology of education come directly from sociology. The main part of the chapter then provides a general outline of the functions of schooling, several of which lie outside our taken-for-granted assumptions about the purposes of education. Next comes a discussion of the ways in which education systems vary worldwide. Finally, the reader will find a thumbnail sketch of the dominant theories in sociology of education.1


Social Mobility Critical Theory Educational Goal Feminist Pedagogy High Social Status 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Ali A. Abdi and Ailie Cleghorn 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali A. Abdi
  • Ailie Cleghorn

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