1. Introduction to the course

Education is a major institution in most societies. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine any industrialised or industrialising society without a system of schools. Sociologists of education examine many parts of educational systems interaction, classrooms and peer groups, school organisations and national and international systems of education. Sociologists see education as one of the major institutions that constitutes society; they place the study of education in a larger framework of institutions found in every society. These institutions include family, religion, politics, economics and health, in addition to education.


‘Sociology is a disciplined eye that both examines how we get on in our daily lives and locates these details onto a ‘map’ that extends beyond those immediate experiences.’

Z. Bauman & T. May 2001