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ALAN R. SADOVNIK
The sociology of education has mirrored the larger theoretical debates in the discipline of sociology. From its roots in the classical sociology of Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim to the contemporary influences of symbolic interactionism, postmodernism, and critical theory, sociology of education research has been influenced by a number of different theoretical perspectives. This chapter provides an overview of the major theoretical perspectives in the sociology of education—functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism—as well as contemporary theoretical approaches: the code theory of Basil Bernstein, the cultural capital theory of Pierre Bourdieu, the status-competition theory of Randall Collins, the institutional theory of John Meyer, and postmodern critical theory.
Lo que implica juicios de valor
Functionalist sociologists begin with a picture of society that stresses the interdependence of the social system; these researchers often examine how well parts are integrated with each other. Functionalists view society as a kind of machine, in which one part articulates with another to produce the dynamic energy required to make society work. Most importantly, functionalism emphasizes the processes that maintain social order by stressing consensus and agreement. Although functionalists understand that change is inevitable, they underscore the evolutionary nature of change. Further, although they acknowledge that conflict between groups exists, functionalists argue that, without a common bond to unite groups, society would disintegrate. Thus, functionalists examine the social processes necessary to the establishment and maintenance of social order. Functionalist theories of school and society trace their origins to the French sociologist Emile Durkheim's (1858-1917) general sociological theory. At its center, Durkheim's sociology (1947, 1954) was concerned with the effects of the decline of traditional rituals and community during the transition from traditional to modern societies. Durkheim's analysis of the differences between mechanical and organic solidarity in The Division of Labor (1947) and his concept of anomie in Suicide (1951) examined the need for societies to create rituals and institutions to provide for social cohesion and meaning. Like Ferdinand Tonnies's (1957) analysis of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, Durkheim provided a sociological analysis of the effects of modernity on community. For Durkheim, the processes of industrialization, urbanization, and modernization led to the breakdown of traditional rituals and methods of social control, which in turn led to the breakdown of social solidarity and cohesion. In Suicide (1951), he demonstrated empirically how the breakdown in traditional community resulted in the decline of collective conscience and the rise of individualism. Such a breakdown lead to what Durkheim called anomie, the condition of normlessness in individuals and society. As the bonds that connected individuals to each other and to society became unhinged, modern societies faced disintegration from within. Durkheim, however, was not a reactionary; he did not
The social purposes of schooling are to socialize children into the various roles. behaviors. a government report on U. most schools have at least an indirect role in this process. His major works on education include Moral Education (1962). political. for example. in political democracies). Durkheini's emphasis on values and cohesion set the tone for how present-day functionalists approach the study of education. it enables members to help to solve social problems. to transmit specific knowledge. and curricula that are technically advanced and rational and that encourage social unity. Functionalists. schools. There was no suggestion that perhaps education might not have the power to overcome deep social and economic problems without changing other aspects of American society. democratic societies. A Nation at Risk. From a functional point of view. referred to by sociologists as socialization. The economic purposes of education are to prepare students for their later occupational roles and to select. moral values were the foundation of society. well-functioning society. its authors argued that our schools were responsible for a whole host of social and economic problems. however. Such a society. These purposes or functions are intellectual. Whereas the degree to which schools directly prepare students for work varies from society to society. Functionalists tend to assume that consensus is the normal state in society and that conflict represents a breakdown of shared values. and. are most concerned with the role of schools in modern. then. to ensure social cohesion. Whereas conflict theory (see the next section) argues that schools function in the interests of the dominant groups in a society. and Education and Sociology (1956). The Evolution of Educational Thought (1977). 1990. schools work. Functionalism is concerned with the functions of schooling in the maintenance of social order. what Durkheim called organic solidarity. he believed that. to help assimilate diverse cultural groups into a common political order. and economic (Bennett and LeCompte. schools socialize students into the appropriate values and sort and select students according to their abilities. by participating in socialization. at least within democratic societies. writing. and to teach children the basic laws of the society. It should be evident that most American educators and educational reformers implicitly base their reform suggestions on functional theories of schooling. 5-21) and refer to their role within any existing society. Rather. would allow for a balance between individualism and community. was released in 1983. along with other institutions such as the family. in virtually all societies. with its strict forms of social control and regulation. Durkheim was the first sociologist to apply sociological theory to education.S. This process. Therefore functionalists examine the specific purposes of schooling and the role of schools in society. When. Although Durkheim recognized that education had taken different forms at different times and in different places. social. is a key ingredient in the stability of any society. history. Sadovnik Solidaridad organica believe that the solution to social disintegration was a return to the past. and to help students acquire higher-order thinking skills such as analysis. and values of the society. train. and allocate individuals into the division of labor. education was of critical importance in creating the moral unity necessary for social cohesion and harmony. to prepare citizens who will participate in this political order (for example. and the church or synagogue. pp. In a highly integrated. For Durkheim. The intellectual purposes of schooling include the following: to teach basic cognitive skills such as reading. evaluation. he believed that modern societies had to develop new forms of social control and cohesion that would allow for the newly developed individualism of modernity to exist within a cohesive modern society. The political purposes of schooling are to inculcate allegiance to the existing political order (patriotism). programs.4 • Alan R. educational reform is supposed to create structures. . for example. functionalism sees schools as functioning in the interests of the majority of citizens. and the sciences. in literature. and mathematics. and synthesis.
Whereas functionalist theorists disagreed on the causes of academic failure. is one in which each member has an equal opportunity for social and economic advantages.Theory and Research in the Sociology of Education • 5 Sometimes these purposes contradict each other. Conflict theorists argued that schools functioned in the interests of dominant groups. Nonetheless. rather than accidents of birth. and democratic characteristics (Hum. against the evidence. This educational pattern necessitated the formulation of reform programs to ensure equality of opportunity. that is. and that functionalists confused what is with what ought to be. according to this tradition. Education is thus the vehicle in ensuring the continual movement toward this meritocratic system. pp. the following question underscores the clash between the intellectual and political purposes of the school. meritocratic. Functionalists such as Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore (1945) argued that inequality was functional and necessary in all societies. Functionalist theory was the dominant paradigm in sociology and the sociology of education until the 1960s. Thus. As Diane Ravitch argued: It is indisputable that full equality has not been achieved. This democratic-liberal functionalist perspective views education as a vital institution in a modern capitalist society defined by its technocratic. then can the school simultaneously engender patriotism and conformity to society's rules? Modern functionalist theories of education have their origin in the work of Talcott Parsons (1959). society in this framework is characterized by the evolutionary movement from ascription to achievement. According to this perspective. 1993. and individual merit and talent replace ascriptive and class variables as the most essential determinants of status. 44-47). . but equally indisputable in the light of the evidence is the conclusion that a democratic society can bring about effective social change. with equal educational opportunity the crucial component. democratic society. For example. From this perspective. rather than everyone. the historical pattern of academic failure by minority and working-class students was a blemish on the principles of justice and equality of opportunity expounded by a democracy. functionalist theory rested on a positive view of meritocracy as a laudable goal. traditional agrarian societies because they are meritocratic. In the 1960s. A democratic society is a just society. education plays a significant function in the maintenance of the modern democratic and technocratic society. The central distinction made by the functionalist perspective was between equality of opportunity and equality of results. that meaningful change is not possible is to sap the political will that is necessary to effect changes (1977. In a political democracy. If it is the intellectual purpose of the school to teach higher-order thinking skills such as critical thinking and evaluation. pp. as it ensured that the most talented individuals would fill the functionally most important positions. In addition to its role in a meritocratic society. The just society. Although schools do teach specific work skills. Parsons (1902-1979) believed that education was a vital part of a modern society. with education viewed as the necessary institutional component in guaranteeing a fair competition for unequal rewards. talent and hard work should determine the allocation of individuals to positions. schooling performs important functions in the development and maintenance of a modern. Although considerable inequality remains. they vigorously believed that the solutions to both educational and social problems were possible within the capitalist social structure. Therefore. a society that differed considerably from all previous societies. if it generates the former. schools provide students with the skills and dispositions to work in such a society. schools provide citizens with the knowledge and dispositions to participate effectively in civic life. In an ever increasingly technical society. 114-115). they also teach students how to learn so they may adapt to new work roles and requirements. in modern societies education becomes the key institution in a meritocratic selection process. then. According to this critique. especially with regard to equality of opportunity for all citizens. modern democratic societies differ from previous. conflict theory emerged as a significant critique and alternative to functionalism. To argue. if there is both the leadership and the political commitment to do so.
One argument. Ideologies or intellectual justifications created by the powerful are designed to enhance their position by legitimizing inequality and the unequal distribution of material and cultural goods. establish a new society where men and women would no longer be "alienated" from their labor. 1993. pp. worked up to 18 hours a day. cooptation. and manipulation. 52-54). Sadovnik whereas schools ought to be democratic and meritocratic. schools are similar to social battlefields. social. skills. 54-55). First. which separated owners from workers and workers from the benefits of their own labor. the achievement ideology disguises the "real" power relations within the school. and. reflect and correspond to the power relations within the larger society (Bowles and Gintis. and jobs is far less rational than functionalists suggest (Hum. That is. The political economists Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis. and had little. in the end. in their book Schooling in Capitalist America (1976). until society is fundamentally changed. Second. in turn. political. These antagonisms. the proletariat would rise up and overthrow the capitalists. and in doing so. rather than the ability of dominant groups to impose their will on subordinate groups through force. He believed that. and so on. conflict theorists point out that the role of schools in providing equality of opportunity is far more problematic than functionalists suggest (Hum. he is the intellectual founder of the conflict school in the sociology of education. Third. In this view. Industrialization and urbanization had produced a new dass of workers—the proletariat—who lived in poverty. From a conflict point of view. where students struggle against teachers. teachers against administrators. which. Although Karl Marx (1818-1883) did not write a great deal about education specifically. In this view the glue of society is economic. Conflict Theory' As suggested above. use a Marxist perspective for examining the growth of the American public school. 50-52). 1976).6 • Alan R. they suggest that Marxism places too much emphasis on the independent effects of the economy and not enough on the effects of cultural. are most often muted for two reasons: the authority and power of the school and the achievement ideology In effect. is that differences are an inevitable outcome of biology or history Clearly. if any. the achievement ideology convinces students and teachers that schools promote learning and sort and select students according to their abilities. for instance. argue that traditional Marxism is too deterministic and overlooks the power of culture and human agency in promoting change. Whereas functionalists emphasize cohesion in explaining social order. not according to their social status. . pp. there is a direct "correspondence" between the organization of schools and the organization of society. conflict sociologists emphasize struggle. Although the specific nature of conflict theory is developed in the next section. it is important to note some of the problems with functionalism. the empirical evidence did not support the functionalist contention that they were. and military power. conflict sociologists see the relation between school and society as problematic. 1993. large-scale empirical research on the effects of schooling casts significant doubt on the functionalist assertion that the expansion of schooling brings about an increasingly just and meritocratic social order (Hum. pp. and political factors. conflict theorists argue that the relationship between schooling. Marx's powerful and often compelling critique of early capitalism has provided the intellectual energy for subsequent generations of liberal and leftist thinkers who believe that the only way to a more just and productive society is the abolition or modification of capitalism and the introduction of socialism. not all sociologists of education believe that society is held together by shared values and collective agreement alone. made class struggle inevitable. however. however. Marx believed that the dass system. 1993. Other conflict sociologists of education. To their minds. cultural. His analytic imagination and moral outrage were sparked by the social conditions found in Europe in the late nineteenth century. there is little hope of real school reform. hope of creating a better life for their children.
1986) demonstrate that educational expansion often preceded labor market demands and that educational expansion is legitimized by institutional ritual and ceremony rather than actual practices. called institutional theory. Weber had an acute and critical awareness of how bureaucracy was becoming the dominant type of authority in the modern state and how bureaucratic ways of thinking were bound to shape educational reforms. in understanding the transmission of inequalities. In his book The Sociology of Teaching (1965). Meyer argues that the expansion of education worldwide has been due not to functional requirements or labor market demands but rather to the worldwide process of citizenship and the democratic belief that educational development is a requirement of a civil society." Without continuous vigilance. a major research tradition that has emerged from the Weberian school of thought is represented by Randall Collins (1978). Rubinson. He believes that educational expansion is best explained by status group struggle. but rather of the belief that educational expansion is necessary. referred to as the "new sociology of education" (Young. Status is an important sociological concept because it alerts us to fact that people identify their group by what they consume and with whom they socialize. The "new sociologists of education" attempted to link micro and macro processes into a comprehensive theory of school and society. a variation of conflict theory. Moreover. Contemporary conflict theory includes a number of important approaches. Pierre Bourdieu (1931-2002) examined how cultural capital (particular forms of culture. and literature) is passed on by families and schools (1977). are primarily status symbols. Like Collins. 1992. such as college diplomas. One of the first American sociologists of education to use these concepts was Willard Waller. Like Marx. is based on the work of the Stanford sociologist John Meyer and his collaborators. social and cultural reproduction theorists argued that school processes reflect the interests of cultural and social elites. Through comparative. Researchers in this tradition tend to analyze school organizations and processes from the point of view of status competition and organizational constraints.1978. To Waller's mind. A second school of conflict theory. Ramirez. Weber made the distinction between the "specialist" and the "cultivated man. art. The rise of "credentialism" indicates not that society is becoming more expert but that education is increasingly used by dominant groups to secure more advantageous places in the occupational and social structure for themselves and their children. Thus. without direct reference to the wishes of the dominant classes. Meyer believes that such expansion is a proof not of democracy. historical. rather than indicators of actual achievement. Weber examined status cultures as well as class position. rational models of school organization only disguise the inherent tension that pervades the schooling process. First. Weber also recognized that political and military power could be exercised by the State. He argues that educational credentials. but. unlike Marx.Theory and Research in the Sociology of Education • 7 An early conflict sociologist who took a slightly different theoretical orientation when viewing society was Max Weber (1864-1920). we ought to . Third. such as knowledge of music. Meyer. Weber was convinced that power relations between dominant and subordinate groups structured societies. The concept of "cultural capital" is important because it suggests that. Unlike most Marxists. and Soysal. 1977. Waller's perspective is shared by many contemporary conflict theorists who see schools as oppressive and demeaning and portray student non-compliance with school rules as a form of resistance. who tend to emphasize the economic structure of society. Waller portrays schools as autocracies in a state of "perilous equilibrium. schools would erupt into anarchy because students are essentially forced to go to school against their will. 1971) began in France and England during the 1960s. Weber believed that class differences alone could not capture the complex ways human beings form hierarchies and belief systems that make these hierarchies seem just and inevitable. and institutional analysis Meyer and his colleagues (Meyer and Rowan." What should be the goal of education: training individuals for employment or for thinking? Or are these two goals compatible? The Weberian approach to studying the relation between school and society has developed into a compelling and informative tradition of sociological research.
Sadovnik recognize that the cultural characteristics of individuals and groups are significant indicators of status and class position. By examining the micro-sociological or interactional aspects of school life.c. Bourdieu's theories extend the work of other sociologists who have argued persuasively that human culture cannot be understood as an isolated and self-contained object of study but must be examined as part of a larger social and cultural structure. For example. This advantage has very little to do with what prep school students learn in school and a great deal to do with the power of their schools' reputations for educating members ofthe upper class. interactionist theories about the relation of school and society are critiques and extensions of the functionalist and conflict perspectives. Bernstein combined a class analysis with an interactional analysis. Bourdieu. primarily using a conflict perspective (1990a. It is exactly what most people do not question that is most problematic to the interactionist. 1936). He argued that the structural aspects of the educational system and the interactional aspects of the system reflect each other and must be viewed holistically. For example. which links language with educational processes and outcomes. 1975). important to analyze because such processes carry with them many implicit assumptions about learning and children. a graduate from an elite prep school has educational and social advantages over many public school graduates in terms of acceptance to elite colleges and occupational mobility.d). He examined how speech patterns reflect students' social class backgrounds and how students from working-class backgrounds are at a disadvantage in the school setting because schools are essentially middle-class organizations. Interactionist Theory' In general. we are less likely to create theories that are logical and eloquent. and Collins will be examined in more detail. Bernstein demonstrated empirically how school processes at the micro level result in the reproduction of social stratification at the macro level. with its origins in the school of philosophy known as phenomenology (Giddens. Later in the chapter. stresses what the sociologists Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann (1963) called the social construction of reality. This more existential perspective.8 • Alan R. The critique arises from the observation that functionalist and conflict theories are very abstract and emphasize structure and process at a societal (macro-sociological) level of analysis. Another social reproduction theorist. . the work of Bernstein. the social self is an active product of human agency rather than a deterministic product of social structure. Thus. the processes by which students are labeled "gifted" or "learning disabled" are.b. but without meaningful content. Mead and Cooley examined the ways in which the individual is related to society through ongoing social interactions. What do students and teachers actually do in school? Interactionist theories attempt to make the "commonplace strange" by turning on their heads everyday taken-for-granted behaviors and interactions between students and students and between students and teachers. To understand the impact of culture on the lives of individuals and groups we must understand the meanings that are attributed to cultural experiences by those who participate in them (Mannheim. from an interactionist point of view.and microsociological approaches. Although this level of analysis helps us to understand education in the "big picture' macro-sociological theories hardly provide us with an interpretable snap-shot of what schools are like on an everyday level. This school of thought. viewed the self as socially constructed in relation to social forces and structures and the product of ongoing negotiation of meanings. There is a growing body of literature that suggests schools pass on to graduates specific social identities that either enhance or hinder their life chances. Interactionist theory has its origins in the social psychology of the early twentieth-century sociologists George Herbert Mead (1863-1931) and Charles Horton Cooley (1864-1929). Basil Bernstein (1924-2000) synthesized macro. known as symbolic interactionism.
Although Goffman did not directly study education. and linguistic discourse are at the root of unequal educational outcomes. as he viewed social interaction patterns as rituals that served to maintain society through an invisible micro-social order. Encounters (1961b). 1970: 449). Rist demonstrated how African-American teacher labeling of students based on their different social class backgrounds resulted in low-income students being placed in lower-ability reading groups and middle-class students in higher-ability groups. whose work influenced a generation of sociologists of education and linguists. Behavior in Public Places (1963b). labeling. In his classic essay. and gender affect student perceptions of themselves and their achievment. 1985). independent of ability. who remained in lowability groups throughout their careers. Rist concludes that the interactional processes of the school resulted in educational inequality mirroring the larger structures of society. Contemporary Approaches in the Sociology of Education Code Theory: Basil Bernstein's Contribution to Understanding Education 5 Code theory is the term used to describe the theoretical and empirical project of the British sociologist Basil Bernstein. For over three decades. Rist's interactionist approach provides an empirical documentation of how schools reproduce inequality. 1985). and the study of schools as total institutions (Cookson and Persell. originally a key approach in the sociology of deviance. Combined with the findings of conflict theory. Goffman's brand of interactionism was functionalist. on the labeling of so-called deviant behavior in Stigma (1963a). 1977) research into the everyday processes of schooling in an inner-city school provided an understanding of how school practices.Theory and Research in the Sociology of Education • 9 Interactionist theory is usually combined with functionalism and/or conflict theory to produce a more comprehensive theory of society One of the most influential interactionist theorists was the Canadian-born sociologist Erving Goffman. Rist's (1970. Ray Rist has provided some of the most important insights on the ways in which school processes affect educational achievement. Trained as an anthropologist in the functionalist tradition of Emile Durkheim and A. Radcliffe-Brown. ethnicity. class. particularly through the use of labeling theory. Bernstein was one of the centrally important and controversial sociologists. and economic structures and institutions) is dialectically related to the way in which people understand systems of meaning (codes). Goffman was interested in how everyday taken-for-granted patterns of interactions serve to hold society together. 1977). In another classic essay. "Student social class and teacher expectations: the self fulfilling prophecy in ghetto education" (1970). and of patterns of interpersonal behavior in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959). 1973. Rist argued that interactionism has provided important understandings of the way in which the everyday workings of schools (including teacher and student interactions). These labels became "life sentences" that had profoundly negative effects on the achievement of the low-income students. which has been applied to the study of teacher expectations (Persell. Louis elementary school. consisting of primarily African-American students. contribute to the reproduction of educational and social inequalities. and Interaction Ritual (1967) have provided a rich tapestry of concepts for sociologists of education. Drawing upon labeling theory. This approach is concerned with how the macro level (social. ability grouping and tracking (Oakes. He concluded that "the system of public education in reality perpetuates what it is ideologically committed to—eradicating class barriers which result in inequality in the social and economic life of the citizenry" (Rist. "On understanding the processes of schooling: the contributions of labeling theory" (1977). Rist reported findings from his ethnographic study of a St. political. R. his writings on mental hospitals in Asylums (1961a). such as labeling and ability grouping. From . whose work examined the micro sociology of everyday life and the functions of interaction rituals in holding society together. Rist demonstrated how teacher expectations of students based on categories such as race.
code theory became concerned with the processes of schooling and how they related to social-class reproduction. Volume 1 (1973). 1985. 1990a. when asked to tell a story describing a series of pictures. Bernstein's sociology drew on the essential theoretical orientations in the field—Durkheimian. working-class boys used many pronouns. and interactionist—and provided the possibility of an important synthesis. and their stories could be understood only by looking at the pictures. Whereas class reproduction theorists such as Bowles and Gintis (1976) offered an overtly deterministic view of schools. The concept of code is central to Bernstein's structural sociology. 146-147). In Class. His later work (1977) began the difficult project of connecting macro power and class relations to the micro-educational processes of the school. whereby context-dependent language is necessary in the context of production. pp. 1996. Bernstein argued that restricted codes are not deficient.10 • Alan R. generated descriptions rich in nouns. Although Bernstein's critics (see Danzig. p. Weberian. and schools. the term refers to a "regulative principle which underlies various message systems.b). especially curriculum and pedagogy" (Atkinson. Weberian. and their stories could be understood without the benefit of the pictures (Bernstein. In this respect. For Bernstein. Bernstein's early work on language (1958. Based upon empirical research. not deficient.b) examined the relationship between public language. That schools require an elaborated code for success means that working-class children are disadvantaged by the dominant code of schooling. the elaborated code of the middle class represents functional changes necessitated by changes in the division of labor and. on the other hand. and schooling to his later works on curriculum and pedagogy (teaching methods). and intrapsychic levels of sociological analysis. From the outset of its use in his work on language (restricted and elaborated codes). as a result. viewing education as exclusively influenced by the economy without describing or explaining what goes on in schools. and shared meanings (Danzig. communication codes. Bernstein began to develop code theory through the introduction of the concepts of restricted and elaborated codes (1962a. Restricted codes are contextdependent and particularistic. institutional. interactional. By 1962. and the school and explored how these relationships affected differences in learning among social classes. it presented an opportunity to synthesize the classical theoretical traditions of the discipline: Marxist. and the reproduction of meaning systems. family. but rather are functionally related to the social division of labor. pp. family. For Bernstein. Likewise. authority. 147-156). In doing so. 1961a. Bernstein's work promised to connect the societal. 136). differences that reflect the class and power relations in the social division oflabor. Marxist. Bernstein distinguished between the restricted code of the working class and the elaborated code of the middle class. Bernstein's sociolinguistic code theory was developed into a social theory examining the relationships between social class. 1960. Symbolic Control and Identity (1977. and Control. In the third and fourth volumes of Class. and Control and in Pedagogy. Although structuralist in its approach. 1970). difference becomes deficit in the context of macro-power relations. the family. Nonetheless. 1995) argued that his sociolinguistic theory represented an example of deficit theory (alleging that he was arguing that working-class language was deficient) Bernstein consistently rejected this interpretation (see Bernstein. Bernstein's early work on code theory was highly controversial because it discussed social class dif ferences in language that some labeled a deficit theory. 1995. the work raised crucial questions about the relationships among the social division of labor. Bernstein developed code theory from its sociolinguistic roots to examine the connection between communication codes and curriculum and teaching methods. by the middle class's new position in reproduction rather than production. For example. Bernstein attempted to produce a theory of social and educational codes (meaning systems) and their effect on social reproduction. Middle-class boys. Codes. Bernstein analyzed the significant differences between different forms of . 1996). Codes. and Durkheimian. there were social class differences in the communication codes of working-class and middle-dass children.Sadovnik his early works on language. whereas elaborated codes are context-independent and universalistic.
Unlike functionalists. Through a careful and logical consideration of the inner workings of the dominant forms of educational practice. and knowledge of music. provided a theoretical and empirical understanding of culture and stratification.and middle-class forms of cultural capital become codified in the school's curriculum. it is undeniable that it represented one of the most sustained and powerful attempts to investigate significant issues in the sociology of education. related to the struggle over the means of violence that characterizes the realm of politics. As the director of the Centre de Sociologie Europeenne in Paris. Schooling corresponds to the dominant interests of society. . like Bernstein. art. Bourdieu and Bernstein viewed these patterns as leading not to social cohesion and agreement but rather to class domination. . . upper. Symbolic violence is "power which manages to impose meanings and to impose them as legitimate by concealing the power relations which are the basis of its force" (Collins and Makowsky. or symbolic representations of cultural domination. 264): . they actually advantage the upper and middle classes through their symbolic representations. As Collins (Collins and Makowsky. 308). which were developed in Bourdieu and Passeron's Reproduction in Education. as a result. Bourdieu. and the individual and of how schooling systematically reproduces social inequality. culture. Thus. all of which have important exchange value in the educational and cultural marketplace. Drawing upon the functionalism in the sociology of Durkheim and the anthropology of LeviStrauss. including such arenas as child rearing. with his research colleagues. for Bourdieu: culture itself. 259) notes. 1993. and education that synthesizes Durkheim and Marx (Swartz. Over 35 years ago. 1973. Pierre Bourdieu (Bourdieu and Passeron. According to Collins (Collins and Makowsky. Bernstein contributed to a greater understanding of how the schools (especially in the United Kingdom and United States) reproduce what they are ideologically committed to eradicating: social-class advantages in schooling and society. Despite the criticisms that Bernstein's work is sometimes complex and difficult. Although schools appear to be neutral. such as language. schools. Schools that serve middle-class students have different curricula and teaching methods from schools that serve working-class students. museums. p. provided more of a conflict. 1977. and musical and artistic institutions. is an economy. 1997). and literature.Theory and Research in the Sociology of Education • 11 educational transmission and suggested that social-class differences in curriculum and pedagogy are related to inequalities of educational achievement between working-class and middle-class students. Cultural Capital and Symbolic Violence: The Contributions of Pierre Bourdieu Like Bernstein. Bourdieu was not without his critics. p. Bernstein began with a simple but overwhelming issue: how to find ways to "prevent the wastage of working-class educational potential" (1961a. Bourdieu. Bernstein's analysis of the social-class assumptions of pedagogic practice is the foundation for linking micro-educational processes to the macro-sociological levels of social structure and class and power relations. neo-Marxist dimension that demonstrates that cultural capital reproduces social classes and that schooling reproduces cultural capital unevenly among social classes. 1984) attempted to test empirically a theory of society. p. ideas. and these differences result in educational inequality. 1993. These classes possess cultural capital. Society and Culture (1977). 259). For Bourdieu. culture is a realm of power struggle. are used to understand how schooling is part of a symbolic process of cultural and social reproduction. Bourdieu. 1993. Stratification in the cultural economy and in the material economy are reciprocally related. This type of power is found not only in schooling but also in other educational realms. 1977. Bourdieu's central concepts of cultural capital and symbolic violence. Bernstein's work provided a systematic analysis of the relationship between society. p. Taken as a whole.
Rather. His early work on mathematical sociology (Coleman. in 1991. student background and socio-economic status—had a greater impact on educational achievement. In addition to Coleman's sociology of education. Along with his concept of intergenerational closure. Despite these criticisms. Collins (Collins and Makowsky. 265). Coleman suggested that given these factors. Coleman argued that busing had led to "white flight" to the suburbs and that busing had failed. could expel students for academic and behavioral reasons. 1993) includes Bourdieu as among the most influential European sociologists of the late twentieth century. with critics arguing that he and his coauthors did not adequately control for family background variables. Coleman changed his position on the effects of schools on student achievement. low-income black students would benefit from racially integrated school settings. and lowincome and more affluent students. In two important books (Coleman. Coleman's conclusions were criticized on methodological and policy grounds. and family—that is. . . Completed for the United States government and based on statistical analysis of large data sets. which referred to the ties between parents and children that affect educational achievement. resources. and the fact that private schools. Coleman defined social capital as the social networks that individuals belong to and proposed that these networks enable individuals. By 1975. This position led to an unsuccessful attempt by some members of the American Sociological Association to revoke his membership. their argument that families and the school communities play an important role in educational achievement continues to be an essential part of sociological explanations of unequal educational achievement. controlling for student background and socio-economic status. We are eternally doomed to stratification. 1964) provided the foundation for the use of mathematical modeling and large-scale data sets in social science research. fails to point out the intense organizational and societal conflicts that often result in some reshaping of social stratification (p. By the 1980s. This argument became the foundation for what was termed the "Catholic School effect' which influenced school choice and voucher proponents in the coming years. 1982. Coleman and Hoffer. unlike public schools. we can only change places inside an iron circle. Coleman argued that students in private schools (independent and Catholic) had higher achievement than students in public schools. Nevertheless. totally pessimistic. Whereas Bourdieu argued that social and cultural capital Understanding Unequal Educational Outcomes: The Contributions . 1966). Coleman found that external factors such as peer groups. and teacher quality explained little of the differences between black and white. This view. . of James Coleman James Coleman's contributions to the sociology of education included theoretical. theoretical and policy dimensions. and social capital into a more sociologically informed theory. he made significant contributions to social science methodology and sociological theory. to marshal resources for educational and social benefits. empirical. This resulted in the controversial policy in the 1960s and 1970s of school busing for racial integration. social status. selection bias associated with parental choices to send their children to private schools. Hoffer and Kilgore. Coleman spent most of his career at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago and was best known for his important work Equality of Educational Opportunity (Coleman et al. Coleman's work provided a more functionalist analysis than Bourdieu's. community. His classic book Foundations of Social Theory (1990) applied the rational choice theories of classical economics to social behavior by integrating social factors such as peer group influence. the Coleman Report argued that school-based factors such as school funding. Nevertheless. and especially groups. which became one of the most important concepts in the sociology of education..12 • Alan R. as Collins suggests. This approach built upon his analysis of social capital (1988). Sadovnik Bourdieu's theory is completely closed. 1987). It is totally cynical. We cannot get outside our skins. which often led to violent opposition. he became its President.
Unlike functionalists. the result of the higher skills and knowledge required in an increasingly technological society. through professional organizations they raised the entry-level requirements for professions by using a rational-functional argument that such credentials were necessitated by increased skills of the professions. For example. Based on a historical and empirical analysis of the requirements of different professions.Theory and Research in the Sociology of Education • 13 reproduced class inequalities. into an overall conflict theory of society. In The Credential Society (1978). power. and Goffinan. Collins (1978) distinguishes between productive and political labor within organizations: Productive labor represents the rational and functional processes that are related to goals and objectives. and as a result of the rise in requirements for expert knowledge in a highly technological society. elevation of the college degree over the high school degree as an entry-level requirement is not. has raised the stakes for all groups. Collins (1978) argues that the rise in credentials cannot be explained by the demands of political process or the needs of the labor market. and Durkheim. Coleman argued that social capital provided both the basis for group cohesion and a mechanism for social mobility Despite the often vociferous criticism of his work. Rather. Collins argued that educational expansion was far less rational. although rooted in a Weberian conflict perspective. and tested a series of propositions about the nature of social order and change. Unlike Marxists. From Durkheim and Freud. as functionalists argue. Rather than seeing the expansion of educational systems in democratic-liberal societies as a rational response to democratic processes of equality of opportunity and meritocratic ideology. For example. the actual knowledge and skills of the profession have . Collins. attempted to synthesize the sociologies of Marx. and technology. Collins argues that the world is held together by non-rational as well as rational factors and. who see dominant groups as defined largely by economic forces. there is little doubt that Coleman's sociology of education influenced the field for four decades. In Conflict Sociology (1975). Rather.S. advantaged groups did not sit by idly. combined with the expansion of opportunities in higher education in response to democratic claims for equality of opportunity made by historically marginalized groups. sociologist Randall Collins has attempted to synthesize Marx. Beginning in this ambitious volume. Status Competition and Interaction Ritual: The Contributions of Randall Collins Like Bourdieu and Bernstein in Europe. Durkheim. Collins argues. Collins's work on education began with his important article "Functionalist and conflict theories of educational stratification" (1971). and status are the fuel of social life. who viewed the expansion of education as a result of an ongoing expansion of democracy. it is often non-rational and used as a means to legitimize control and domination by dominant groups. whereas pharmacists now need a five-year college program rather than the apprenticeship program of the 1930s. which provided a critique of functionalist theories of social stratification. and economic rewards. Collins argues that the role of sociology is to understand scientifically the relationship between macro power relations and micro social processes. Although most groups argue that their work in organizations is functional and productive. from Weber. political. the U. Weber. Collins demonstrated that educational credentials have increased far in excess of an increase in occupational skills and requirements. that conflict between social groups over wealth. meritocracy. Collins outlined a theory of sociology as an explanatory science. the competition for good positions. As groups who historically had not attended college gained access. The role of education is central to his theory. political labor represents the often non-rational processes related to status competition and group domination and advantage. Collins suggests that the expansion in educational credentials has been a result of status competition among groups who engage in symbolic conflict over scarce cultural. as well as the micro-sociologist Erving Gofr _man. waiting for them to catch up. Weber. Collins provides a Weberian analysis that sees group formation as defined by cultural and political forces as well. In it.
Meyer and his colleagues have argued that mass educational systems have developed as part of international patterns of democratization and globalization. schools develop formal and informal rituals and processes that legitimize their existence and functions in society. Rather. the increased educational credentials required by pharmacists is viewed as their attempt to raise their own status and income. Meyer argues that schools are global institutions and have developed similarly throughout the world since the nineteenth century. given rising technological demands. Institutional Theory: The Contributions ofJohn Meyer The work of John Meyer and his colleagues on the development of mass systems of public education worldwide has been an important theoretical approach in the sociology of education since the 1970s. Although these critics are correct in suggesting that. Finally. In what is called institutional theory. like Collins. Meyer. In fact. suggests that there is little empirical evidence to support these claims or that nurses with baccalaureate degrees are more effective than those with degrees in Associate Arts and Sciences. A second example is the rising educational requirements for nurses. Likewise. Critics of Collins suggest that his view is too cynical and non-rational and often denies the important functional aspects of educational expertise and the need for increased education. combined with the need for a liberally educated nurse who can think on her feet. in the 1930s pharmacists were called chemists because they made medication from scratch. As historically marginalized groups struggle to catch up. however. necessitates elevating the requirement. Similar movements are now occurring for teachers. is a result of middle-class professional attempts to raise their status—and to raise the stakes. increased education is sometimes important. especially in relation to doctors. according to Collins. Meyer and his colleagues have applied institutional theory internationally and comparatively to provide a global analysis of educational systems. Collins. Since they already possess higher credentials. through increased educational levels. Although schools do reflect national cultures and there are differences among national school systems. Although it is still possible to become a registered nurse through a two-year community college associate degree program. whereby teacher-educators and policymakers are arguing that a master's degree should be the minimum entry-level requirement rather than the baccalaureate because of the increased knowledge required to teach children. it is the belief in education in a democratic civil society that fuels demands for mass schooling. Rather. the movement to require a four-year bachelor's degree is becoming the norm. the requirements of the profession have not increased to a level that justifies the increase in educational requirements. Critics have argued that: . most pharmacists distribute manufactured medications from bottles and use computer programs to prevent harmful drug interactions. Meyer argues that all over the world mass systems of public education have developed.14 • Alan R. At the institutional level. The rise of credentials. there is little evidence to suggest that teachers who enter teaching with master's degrees are more effective. Proponents of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing argue that the explosion of medical knowledge. however. Sadovnik not increased dramatically. giving access to more and more people. Although this argument is presented as a rational and functional requirement. the movement for increased credentials is an attempt by nurses to raise their own status. advantaged groups use professional organizations not only to raise their own status but also to increase their advantage in the competition for professional positions. Today. Certainly medical knowledge has increased. it is also the case that the dramatic increase in credentials cannot be explained by functional demands alone. does not believe that educational expansion is predominantly caused by the needs of the labor market. they can continue to distance themselves from competitors who do not have them.
p. 1999. postmodernism stresses the democratic response to authoritarianism and totalitarianism. are devoid of attention to the social bases for those beliefs. they stress the commonalities among educational institutions and the worldwide belief that mass schooling is important. social theorists. This process.Theory and Research in the Sociology of Education • 15 Meyer's emphasis on consensual societal beliefs about the meaning and efficacy of education. In particular. and that one's social. that education functions for the collective good of society. institutional theorists also see how conflict between groups over access and opportunity to mass schooling has affected educational institutions. and for the ways those beliefs legitimate domination and inequality (Olneck. the work of Jean Francois Lyotard (1984) rejected the Marxist perspective and the Enlightenment and modernist assumptions underlying Marxist theory and sought to create a different theory for the late twentieth century. Stanley Aronowitz and Henry Giroux (1991). pp. or all-encompassing explanations of the world needs to be replaced by localized and particular theories. Meyer. Although these are similar to the democratic-liberal functions of schooling outlined by functionalists. postmodernism insists on what Lyotard (1984) has labeled the rejection of all metanarratives. that children should receive early and ongoing schooling. and antitotalitarian theory and practice. 2005. Third. Ramirez and Soysal. 2007). They argue that there is a fundamental set of beliefs that have influenced the development of mass schooling. Lyotard meant that modernist preoccupation with grand. Second. total. Beginning with the poststructural writings of Jacques Derrida (1973. and that there are common beliefs in what schooling can and should do for society. pp. that the types of cognitive skills learned in schools are good for individuals and society. including that all children should be educated. Based on Meyer's theory. postmodernism stresses the necessary connection between theory and practice as a corrective to the separation of them in much modernist thought. Meyer. questioned the appropriateness of modernist categories for understanding what they saw as a postmodern world. and Peter McLaren and R. a world that transcended the economic and social relations of the industrial world that modernist thought had sought to understand. or racial status should not limit access to schooling (Baker and LeTendre. Although Meyer and colleagues believe that national differences are important. 1981. 1977. that nations should invest in schooling. 1992). 10). First. 1987. institutional theorist and comparative sociologist John Meyer has convincingly established a strong case for thinking about schooling as a product of a world culture that renders education as a resilient and powerful institution in modern society (see. Ramirez and Boli. Postmodernism and Critical Theory6 Postmodernism developed out of a profound dissatisfaction with the modernist project of enlightenment and reason. particularly in France. Giroux (1991)." that "schooling is an institution." and that "educational change is institutional change" (Baker and LeTendre. and the legitimating functions of schooling. 6-12). has to a large degree been driven by a dynamic world culture (Baker and LeTendre. Fuller and Rubinson. they argue. According to Baker and Letendre: Over a thirty-year research program with colleagues. 1992. Hammer (1989) call for a democratic. emancipatory. These include "the worldwide success of mass schooling. they argue that there is a number of related themes in the development of worldwide educational systems. They have shown that mass schooling takes similar forms throughout the world. 7-8). 1984). with . Postmodernist thought consists of many interrelated themes. In particular. 2005. 1982) and Jean Baudrillard (1981. David Baker and Gerald LeTendre (2005) have applied institutional theory to a comparative analysis of international educational systems and processes. Baker. as examples. 2005. economic. By this.
16 • Alan R. and empirical research on the relationship between education and social reproduction. Steinberg and Kincheloe. Interactionist theory resulted in a rich variety of qualitative. How can we have dialogues across difference if teachers are excluded from the dialogue? What separates postmodern and critical theories from the rest of the sociology of education is the frequent absence of empirical evidence. For example. As a result. if one of the stated aims of theorists such as Giroux is to develop teachers as transformative intellectuals and to provide a critical pedagogy for school transformation. 1998. 1985. Critical educational theory. Fifth. 1998). Sadovnik schools seen as sites for democratic transformation. which from the late 1970s attempted to provide an antidote to the over-determinism of Bowles and Gintis (1976). achievement. Although this is a problem for all academic work. describing how school processes related to social stratification. Finally. 2007. and on the beliefs in citizenship. postmodernism sees modernist thought as Eurocentric and patriarchal. Finally. narrative. McLaren and Kincheloe. There have been numerous postmodern theories of education or applications of postmodernism to education. Patricia Lather (1991). postmodernist theorists believe that all social and political discourses are related to structures of power and domination. postmodern theories of education call for teachers and students to explore the differences between what may seem like inherently contradictory positions in an effort to achieve understanding. Kincheloe and Steinberg. and mobility. Sixth. Although much ofpostmodern theory developed as a critical theory of society and a critique ofmodernism. In particular. Second. between educational expansion and labor market requirements. by the 1980s. and most importantly. Fourth. Although many of the sociological approaches discussed in this chapter are conceptual and theoretical. whose influential work Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1972) became the foundation for critical educational theory in the United States (Kincheloe. and change. chapter 1) stresses the classroom as a site for political action and teachers as agents of change. 2006). postmodern theorists call for the attempt to work through differences rather than to see them as hopelessly irreconcilable. 1998. First. which over the past two decades has involved an interdisciplinary mixture of social theory. 1987). Critical theories of education often draw heavily on the work of the Brazilian educator Paolo Freire (1972. Thus. postmodernism stresses what Nicholas Burbules and Susan Rice (1991) term "dialogue across differences?' Recognizing the particular and local nature of knowledge. Conflict theory resulted in a rich array of comparative. which will be referred to as postmodern-critical theory. they are sometimes long on assertion and short on evidence. regularly incorporated postmodern language and concerns. Giroux (1991). and philosophy. . ethnographic studies of schools and classroom practices. postmodernist theories of education often fail to connect theory to practice in a way that practitioners find meaningful and useful. Critical theories of education are similar to neo-Marxist theory with respect to curriculum and pedagogy. has been profoundly affected by postmodernist thought. historical. they usually eschew empirical methods to study schools. and others provide an important critique of the racism and sexism in some modernist writings and of the failure of modernism to address the interests of women and people of color. sociology. it quickly became incorporated into radical writings on education that are often called critical theory. postmodern theories of education eschewed what they saw as the overly quantitative approach of traditional sociology of education research and instead argued for more qualitative. functionalist theory resulted in a rich empirical research project on the relationship between education. Sadovnik (1995b) points out a number of problems with postmodern and critical theories of education. Elizabeth Ellsworth (1989). critical theories of education. respect. then the problem of language is of central importance. autobiographical approaches to research (Denzin and Lincoln. A school of thought called critical pedagogy (Kincheloe and Steinberg. Although this does not suggest that postmodernists write exclusively for practitioners. 2008. postmodern and critical theories of education often are written in a language that is difficult to understand. it is more so for a theory that purports to provide an agenda for critique and change in the school. theory is the foundation for empirical research.
family. interactionist sociologists of education argued that research based on large-scale data sets often missed the reasons for these effects. Radical feminist sociologists of education (Arnot. Feminist educators and sociologists of education examined the ways in which schools perpetuated sexist attitudes and behaviors. The purpose of this type of research was to examine the independent effects of schooling on educational and economic outcomes. 2000. including public. and with female high school graduation rates and college attendance rates outpacing males. the National Educational Longitudinal Study. empirically tested set of propositions about how the social world works. 2002) synthesized feminist and Marxist theory to link patriarchal gender relations to capitalist economic processes and argued that traditional gender roles were inexorably linked to the reproduction of economic inequalities. based on race. such as poverty. 2001). and sexual equality. feminists challenged what they viewed as the dominant patriarchal ideologies of society In the political arena. were mined using sophisticated statistical techniques. quantitative methods dominated research in the sociology of education. hierarchical linear modeling. and other factors. 2002).. Although this type ofresearch provided important evidence on the effects of school organization and processes and the independent effects of factors outside schools. neighborhood. which until the 1990s favored males in terms of educational achievement and attainment. Feminist educational theorists and sociologists of education examined a number oflinked processes. age. 1993). this resulted in liberal feminists demanding social. 1999). sociologists of education often turned their attention to explaining the "boy problem" (Arnot. Levinson. In addition. and others. based on these analyses. community. social class. Beginning with the Coleman Report in the 1960s (Coleman et al. This type of research also examined school effects on these groups by comparing different types of schools. David. First. as this gender gap closed.. and Weiner. Second. . with females outperforming males in most subjects except mathematics and science. as well as unequal educational outcomes based on gender. private. The Rise of Empirical Sociology of Education: Methodological Approaches to Studying Educational Effects Beginning in the 1960s. 1966) and Jencks's analyses of family and school (Jencks et al. as they did not examine school processes. including multivariate analysis. it sometimes fails to live up to the promise of sociology: to develop a scientific. The following section examines the different types of social scientific research employed by sociologists of education. 1972. and peer groups. economic. Therefore. these quantitative analyses examined the explained and unexplained variation in academic achievement among different groups. feminist sociologists of education examined the role of schooling in reproducing a gender-based achievement gap. which to a significant degree were reproduced in the schools. Feminist Theory Beginning in the 1960s. Finally. and charter schools. feminist educational theorists proposed alternative feminist pedagogies to interrupt sexist gender socialization through gender-balanced curricula and pedagogic practices (Maher and Tetrault. tracking. although it represents an important social theory. ethnicity. such as High School Beyond. disability. and the School and Staffing Surveys collected by organizations such as the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and the National Center for Educational Statistics. both inside and outside schools. they analyzed the role of schooling in the reproduction of gender roles (Thorne. while controlling for a series of independent variables. as well as the effects of school organization and processes. From the 1990s. Cookson and Sadovnik. including ability grouping. path analysis.Theory and Research in the Sociology of Education • 17 Postmodern and critical theory often does not provide sufficient empirical research to test its frequently tautological propositions. they critiqued traditional gender roles. Jencks 1979). and school and class size (Hallinan. Large-scale data sets. gender.
qualitative research continues to be an important part of research in the sociology of education. and examining causality (Maxwell. Department of Education issued guidelines for funded educational research privileging experimental design in particular and quantitative methods in general. Based on the methods of the Chicago School of Sociology in the 1930s (Vidich and Lyman. Riehl (2004) argues that qualitative research in the sociology of education has made valuable contributions to our understanding of educational problems and has offered policymakers useful data for school improvement. postmodernism. Maxwell. Whether studies are totally quantitative or totally qualitative or part of a mixed-method approach that uses both quantitative and qualitative methods. 2004). Department of Education called for educational research to mirror the scientific methods of the natural sciences. ethnomethodology.S. A number of researchers have argued that there are weaknesses in both quantitative and qualitative research methods and that mixed-method approaches make more sense (Chatterji. hermeneutics. the U. "the gold standard" of medical and pharmaceutical research. p. 2004). qualitative researchers provided complementary approaches to understanding schooling using ethnographic methods. As noted above. critical theory. including the federal No Child Left Behind Act (2001) required scientific evidence for programs and curricula to appear on its What Works Clearinghouse list. Conclusion The sociology of education originated in the concerns of classical sociology in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. as a response to this critique of the unscientific nature of some qualitative educational research. although this approach is difficult and costly. Sadovnik As an antidote to large data set quantitative research. as the "gold standard" for evaluating what works. rigorous research design. 2001. modeled after the pharmaceutical and medical research communities. 1994) researchers such as Annette Lareau (1989. Despite critiques of qualitative research as unscientific (see Denzin and Lincoln. the Department of Education's policies. feminism. Department of Education labeling experimental research design and randomized field trials. Others are more rooted within interpretive traditions.S. By the beginning of the twenty-first century. insisting on objectivity. 2004. Based upon these strengths and weaknesses. it is clear that both quantitative and qualitative methods should be an important part of sociology of education research. 2004). Although social science and educational research organizations such as the American Educational Research Association issued statements opposing this strict definition of scientific research and called for the inclusion of qualitative studies on an equal footing. and recommending policy and programmatic interventions. Johnson and Onwuegbuzie. it is imperative that both quantitative and qualitative research are recognized as an important tool for policymakers. sociology of education research provides important data for public policy. Arguing that experimental research design with randomized trials. federal policy and funding continues to privilege quantitative methods. 116) and in varying degrees reject post-positivist notions of scientific rigor. Chatterji (2005) argues convincingly that a mixed-method approach rich in qualitative methods must be part of extendedterm mixed-method (ETMM) evaluation designs to ensure that researchers provide policy makers with the best evidence of what works in education. and Michelle Fine (1992) provided important analyses of how school processes affect students from various backgrounds. 2006). many of the postmodern critical studies prefer narrative and autobiographical approaches. or to be eligible for federal funds in Title I (high poverty) districts or for comprehensive school reform model grants. 2005. In an age when educational research is dominated by the Institute of Education Sciences at the U. Some qualitative researchers have remained squarely in the scientific tradition of post-positivism. and cultural studies (Riehl. Lois Weis (1990. 2004). should be the preferred method in educational research. It came of age from the 1960s onward and concentrated on the significant . including symbolic interactionism.S. policymakers and governmental officials at the U. Large-scale data set analyses have provided essential evidence on the effects of schooling and have been invaluable to policymakers.18 • Alan R. In addition.
5. B.159-174. For many sociologists of education. & Weiner.). & Giroux. to examine the most important question common to functionalist and conflict theory: to understand why students from lower socio-economic backgrounds do less well in school and to provide pragmatic policy recommendations for successful school reform and to reduce the achievement gap. (1990). Notes 1. Bennett. Amot. Aronowitz. (1962a). G. Cambridge: Polity. family. 3. Although these studies have provided important findings on educational outcomes and the independent effects of schooling. and practice needs to be diminished. structure and reproduction: An introduction to the sociology of Basil Bernstein. Baudrillard. For a critique of the political economy of the sign (Charles Leaven. 3. Bernstein. 5. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. For others (Cookson. In B. This section is adapted from Sadovnik. The social construction of reality. Art after modernism: Rethinking representation (pp. British Journal of Sociology. P. these investigations have focused on school processes such as tracking and their effects. 6. quantitative focus of much of the sociology of education research. Although sociological theory in the sociology of education will continue to be an important part of this project. Social class and linguistic development: A theory of social learning. (2002). London: Methuen. & LeTendre. Postmodern education: Politics. B. British Journal of Sociology. 288-314). This section is adapted from Sadovnik (1991). provided an alternative to what they perceived as the overly scientific. MO: Tellos Press. Garden City. Educational Research.271-276. and Semel (2006). Language. Anderson (Eds. Bernstein. (1984). Wallis (Ed.). Social structure. J. Floud. (1961b). 1987. & C. However. P. (1963). Berger. How schools work. sociology of education of all types has been too removed from policy and practice. B. NY: Doubleday. M. H. M. (1985). Bernstein. (2005). Louis. 11. 9. Cookson. 2. Baudrillard. P. (1960). David. they have often lacked theoretical sophistication. T. Using large data sets such as High School and Beyond and the National Education Longitudinal Study. Earlier versions of this chapter appeared in Sadovnik (2004) and Sadovnik (2001). Closing the gender gap: Postwar education and social change. the separation of theory.Theory and Research in the Sociology of Education • 19 questions regarding meritocracy and equality. National differences. K. M. In A. quantitative and qualitative. and Semel (2006). Reproducing gender: Selected critical essays on educational theory and feminist politics. usually using qualitative methods. Halsey. References Arnot. 213-281). (1999). The precession of simulacra. (1958). 197-215. Boston: David Godine. H. S. K. Education. Hallinan. St. Today. D. & LeCompte. (1999). This section is adapted from Sadovnik (1995). New York: Free Press. . This section is adapted from Sadovnik. conflict theory. Some sociological determinants of perception: An enquiry into sub-cultural differences. B.31-46. investigations of school effects. (1991). the sociology of education is at a crossroads. Bernstein. (1981). Reprinted by permission of the American Sociological Association. At the same time.163-176. language. Atkinson. economy and society (pp. Cookson. (1961a). this response has weakened the scientific base of educational research. Trans. Schooling all the masses: Reconsidering the origins of American schooling in the post-bellum era. and learning. Bernstein. 1996). Baker. G. Language and social class: A research note. Contemporary theories in the sociology of education have attempted to synthesize the major theories in the field—functionalism. Baker. 4. 72(4). & Lucicmann. Linguistic codes. hesitation phenomena and intelligence. J. and interactionism—and have provided a rich theoretical foundation for empirical work. CA: Stanford University Press. D. M. P. New York: Longman. A. the concern with educational inequalities has resulted in a preoccupation with empirical. Language and Speech. D. and other student background characteristics. J. Palo Alto. In the coming years. global similarities: World culture and the future of schooling. Sociology of Education. sociologists of education need to combine varied research methodologies. Adapted from Sadovnik and Cookson (2002). culture and social criticism. sociologists of education provided important empirical evidence on the effects of education on different groups and have been an important source of data for discussions of the achievement gap. P.).. B. research. mostly quantitative. The twentieth century represented the attempt to refine and empirically test the theoretical insights of the classical sociology of the nineteenth century Through sophisticated methodological approaches. postmodern theorists and researchers.. London: Falmer.
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