Sociology of Education. Origin and Development as a Branch of Sociology


Essay, 2021

7 Pages


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TABLE OF CONTENT

1 INTRODUCTION

2 WHY SOCIOLOGY AS A DISCIPLINE BECAME PROMINENT IN THE 19TH CENTURY.

3 SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION
3.1 Differences between sociology and sociology of education

4 BRIEF NOTES ON EACH PHILOSOPHER’ CONTRIBUTION.
4.1 Auguste Comte
4.2 Herbert Spencer
4.3 Emile Durkheim
4.4 Max Weber
4.5 Karl Marx

5 ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION AS A BRANCH OF SOCIOLOGY

6 CONCLUSION

7 REFERENCES

1 INTRODUCTION

Sociology is the study of human behaviour. It refers to the social behaviour of society. That is, patterns of social relationships, social interactions and culture that surrounds every day. It investigates how human institutions such as family, religious institution and many more interact. It also investigates the social causes and consequences of human behaviour. To understand more about sociology, different philosophers and scholars have given a wide explanation of what sociology is and have contributed a lot to the study of it. This paper briefly explains the beginning and development sociology and the contributions made by different philosophers to the study of sociology. It also explores what sociology of education as a branch of sociology is, its origin and development.

2 WHY SOCIOLOGY AS A DISCIPLINE BECAME PROMINENT IN THE 19TH CENTURY.

Sociology is traced to have its roots in the work of early philosophers like Plato, Aristotle and Confucius. However, is regarded as a relatively new academic discipline 1. It emerged in the early 19th century in response to the challenges of modernity. Modernity brought about mobility and increase in technology which had different effects on different societies because people were exposed to cultures and societies different from their own. The effects of the exposure varied, but for some societies, it included people breaking down traditional norms and culture.

For this reason, sociology emerged and responded to all the challenges that had arisen because of modernity by trying to understand what holds social groups together and also explore possible solutions to the breakdown of social solidarity 1. This is the more reason why sociology became prominent in the 19th century in as much as its development could be coined to different reasons.

3 SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION

Having understood what sociology is and how it came about, it is easier to understand sociology of education now. Sociology of education is a branch of sociology which investigates how public institutions and individual experience affect education and its outcomes. It investigates how education operates and it is concerned with all forms of education, that is, formal and informal education. It looks at education’s methodologies, curricula, institutions and many more in relation to the society.

Education is a fundamentally utopian human undertaking pigeonholed by desires and aspirations for progress and betterment. It is seen by many as a way of succeeding. It is also perceived as a place where children can develop to their unique needs and potential 2. Therefore, it is important to understand how social institutions affect education and its outcome.

Sociology of education for this reason seeks to establish the influence of socio-cultural forces such as religion, beliefs, traditions and culture on the educational outcomes and development of personality. It investigates how the processes of education are affected by these forces.

3.1 Differences between sociology and sociology of education

Additionally, one thing to note is that sociology is different from sociology of education in as much as they have similarities. As clearly indicated above in the definitions of sociology and sociology of education, there are some noticeable differences between these two concepts. The following are some of the differences between them:

- Sociology is the study of human behaviour. It refers to the social behaviour of society; patterns of social relationships, social interactions and culture that surrounds every day while sociology of education is a branch of sociology which narrows its concentration to the study of how public institutions and individual behaviour affect processes of education and its outcomes.
- Sociology is a general concept for the study of human behaviour while sociology of education is a branch that is engulfed within sociology.
- Sociology generalises the study of human behaviour while sociology of education narrows it to the education sector in relation to the society.

4 BRIEF NOTES ON EACH PHILOSOPHER’ CONTRIBUTION.

As mentioned in the introduction, different philosophers and sociologists have contributed to the study of sociology and not just sociology, but also the study of sociology of education. The following are some of the philosophers and sociologists who have contributed much to the study of these two concepts and their contributions.

4.1 Auguste Comte

Auguste Comte was a French philosopher and writer born on 19th January, 1798 and died in Paris, France on 5th September, 1857. He was the first one to develop the concept of sociology to refer to his study of society in 1835. He defined it as a positive science 3. For this reason, he is regarded as the first one to formulate the doctrine of positivism which is the search for invariant laws of the natural and social world 4. As such, he is also considered as the father of sociology.

To illustrate more about what sociology is according to Comte, he further defined it as the study of interaction between human institutions, such as the family, education, religion as well as their development and the manner of transformation of societies.

Influenced by utopian socialist Henri de Saint-Simon, Comte developed positive philosophy in an attempt to remedy social disorder caused by the French Revolution 5 because he believed that the discipline of sociology would help bring order in the society. He had a major impact on the 19th century thought (sic), influencing work of social thinkers such as John Stuart Mill and George Eliot 6 and his concept of sociology set the tone for early social theorist such as Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim and many more.

4.2 Herbert Spencer

Herbert Spencer (1820 – 1903) was an English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist and sociologist famous for his hypothesis of Social Darwinism whereby superior physical force shapes history 7. He originated the expression of survival of the fittest which he coined to his biological principle in 1864.

He saw evolution as extending into realms of sociology and ethics. So, he supported Lamarckism 8. He read with excitement the original positivist sociology of Auguste Comte. However, Spencer rejected the ideological aspects of the philosopher of science’s (Comte’s) positivism and attempted to reformulate the social science in terms of his principle of evolution.

His sociological writing became very popular and contributed a lot to the early sociology (his influence on structural functionalism) and based on the primacy which was placed on evolution by him, his sociology could be described as Social Darwinism mixed with Lamarckism. Nonetheless, despite the popularity of his sociology and the contribution made to early sociology, his attempt to introduce Lamarckian or Darwinian was unsuccessful because it was considered by many to be dangerous 9.

4.3 Emile Durkheim

Emile David Durkheim (1858 -1917) was also a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline of sociology (French school of sociology) in the 1890s with a firm emphasis on practical social research and he is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science by Max Weber 10. He also influenced a lot of other philosophers such as Marcel Mauss, Claude Levi Strauss and many more.

Much of Durkheim’s work was concerned with how societies could maintain their integrity and coherence in modernity, an era in which traditional social and religious ties are no longer assumed, and in which new social institutions have come into being.

His first major sociological work was in 1893 called the Division of Labour in Society, followed by The Rules of Sociological Methods in 1895, the same year in which Durkheim set up the first European department of sociology and became France’s first professor of sociology 11. He did a lot of other sociological work after that.

Durkheim also deeply accepted sociology as a legitimate science. He refined the positivism originally set forth by Auguste Comte. He promoted what could be considered as a form of epistemological realism as well as the use of hypothetico-deductive model in social science. For him, sociology was a science of institutions, understanding the term in its broader meaning as the beliefs and modes of behaviour instituted by collectivity (sic) with its aim being to discover structural social facts 12.

4.4 Max Weber

Maximilian Karl Emil Weber commonly known as Max Weber (1864 – 1920) was a German sociologist, historian, and political economist who is regarded among the most important theorists on the development of modern western society 13. As indicated above, in his sociological work, he commonly cited Emile Durkheim as the principal architect of modern social science. Weber’s ideas were to influence social theory and social research. Because of all this, he was recognised as one of the fathers of sociology alongside Auguste Comte and Emile Durkheim. However, despite being recognised as one of the fathers, he never saw himself as a sociologist, but as a historian 14.

He is best known for his thesis combining economic sociology and the sociology of religion, emphasising the importance of cultural influences embedded in religion as a means (sic) for understanding the genesis of capitalism 15.

Unlike Durkheim, Weber did not believe in monocausal explanations. Instead, he proposed that for any outcome there are many or multiple causes 16. For this reason, he was the key proponent of methodological anti-positivism. He argued for the study of social action through interpretive methods rather that empiricist, based on understanding the purpose and meanings that individuals attach to their own actions.

4.5 Karl Marx

Mark Heinrich Karl (1818 – 1883) was also a German philosopher among the other thing he did who had studied law and philosophy. Because of his political publication, Karl became stateless and lived in exile in London together with his children and his wife 17. While there, he continued to develop his thought in collaboration with German thinker Friedrich Engels and publish his writing. He is well known for his pamphlet in 1848, Communist Manifesto and the three volume Das Kapital (1867 – 1883) 17.

His thought had a massive influence on the subsequence intellectual, economic, and political history. His political and philosophical ideas are called Marxism technology and these are the same notable ideas that he is known for. Marxism held that human societies develop through class conflict 17. According to Karl, he believed that societies developed through the tension and economic antagonism that exist in them which was as a result of socio-economic competition between the rich and the poor.

Because of his influence, Marx was also described as one of the most influential figures in human history and his work was both lauded and criticised. For example, his work in economics laid the basis for much of the current understanding of labour and its relation to capital and subsequence economic thought 18.

5 ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION AS A BRANCH OF SOCIOLOGY

As mentioned above under Emile Durkheim, his works (1858 – 1917) together with Weber’s studies (1858 – 1920) on the Chinese literati as an instrument of political control started sociology of education. Durkheim established the academic discipline of sociology as a basis for organic and social solidarity 19. This is considered as the beginning of sociology of education. Therefore, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber are regarded as fathers of sociology of education.

After World War II, the concept received renewed interest around the world. These renewed interests where from technological functionalism in the US, egalitarian reform of opportunity in Europe, and human-capital theory in economics. In that period, social mobility was at its top gear and sociologists began to think that education promoted mobility and undermined class satisfaction 20.

It continued gaining interest after all this and a lot of sociological work continued to be done on the subject. This is in summary the origin and development of sociology of education as a branch of sociology.

6 CONCLUSION

In conclusion, it is clearly seen that sociology is simply the scientific study of human behaviour in society. The philosophers named above defined and described what sociology is and did much to the study and promoting of it. Therefore, it is important to understand all the concepts of sociology given by all these philosophers because they all did different things and contributed much to the study of sociology as they all believed that the discipline of sociology could help bring order in society. In addition to all this, this paper has explained the origin and develop of sociology of education where it is described as a branch of sociology. Lastly; this paper has also illustrated the difference between sociology and sociology of education.

7 REFERENCES

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Details

Title
Sociology of Education. Origin and Development as a Branch of Sociology
Course
Sociology of Education
Author
Year
2021
Pages
7
Catalog Number
V1006602
Language
English
Tags
sociology, sociology of education, Herbert Spencer, what is sociology, what is sociology of education, Karl, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Auguste Comte, difference between sociology and sociology of education, Emile Durkheim, origin and development of sociology, origin and development of sociology of education, why sociology became prominent in the 19th century, history of sociology, history of sociology of education, marxism, darwinisim, Lamarckism, academic discipline of sociology, father of sociology, fathers of sociology, father of sociology of education, fathers of sociology of education, founder of sociology, founder or founders of sociology of education
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Christopher Siatwiinda (Author), 2021, Sociology of Education. Origin and Development as a Branch of Sociology, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1006602

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