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Why Sociology of Education?: A Reflection on "Sociology of Education by S. Satapathy"

A Brief Review of the Article

The paper written by Subrata S Satapathy highlights the sociology of education. This 4-unit paper discusses the relationship between society, education, and development, the relations between socialization and education, agencies of socialization and education which include the family, peer groups, school, and media. It also gives concepts on equality of educational opportunity, education and disparities on class, tribe, gender, rural-urban, education and social mobility. On the last unit of the paper, the author tried to discuss the emerging trends on education in India.

Satapathy (n.d.) defined sociology as scientific study of human behavior in groups, having for its aim the discovery of regularities and order in such behavior and expressing these discoveries as theoretical propositions or generalizations that describe a wide variety of patterns of behavior. It is concerned on the formation and transformation of groups and the relationship of groups and group members with one another, noting that where there are groups there are tendencies for participation, cohesion, and conflict. On the other hand, Satapathy referred education as the process by which the individual acquires the many physical, moral social capacities demanded of him by the group into which he is born and within which he must function. This is called as socialization. Sociology of education is the knowledge of relationship between society and education. It involves sociological processes in institutions. Satapathy further posited that sociology of education is concerned with the relationships, activities and reactions of the teachers and students in the classroom and highlights the sociological problems in the realm of education.

Satapathy also mentioned many theories regarding the sociology of education. These include the political arithmetic, structural functionalism, socialization, filling roles in society, education, and social reproduction, and bourdieu and cultural capital. Political arithmetic refers to a tradition of politically critical quantitative research dealing with social inequalities, especially those generated by social stratification; this may include the gender, ethnic differentials, and international differences. Social functionalism sees society leaning towards social equilibrium and social order. Social functionalist sees institutions as organs in human body which keeps the body healthy, in this regard, keeps the society orderly and peaceful. For social functionalist, member of society who are achievers must be trained for better types of jobs and works while low achievers are for low jobs. This makes social functionalist opposed the social mobility. Socialization is defined as the s the process by which the new generation learns the knowledge, attitudes, and values that they will need as productive citizens. These values are believed to be learned because of school’s effort to regulate it among learners until they internalize and live with it. Filling roles in education pertains to filling out the available job or positions in society. This believes that the type of position requires the appropriate type of job seekers. High achievers are believed to be given better positions in the industry while least achievers get the lowest job. Education and Social Reproduction pertains to the belief that society is full of competing social groups with different aspirations, different access to life chances and gain different social rewards. However, due to inequality brought by social class, most vulnerable members of the society remain at their lowest because of unequal distribution of opportunities. In the Bourdieu and cultural capital theory it is highlighted that most of the lower-class member of the society always are the disadvantaged adding to the social reproduction.

Satapathy described the scope of sociology of education as broad in contexts. It involves all elements which pertains to society like social groups, community, class, religion, culture, beliefs, cultural change, etc. However, despite having a broad scope, sociology of education provides an understanding of the processes that happen in the society to build a better perspective of what must be action taken in the resolution of any conflict for the present and future generations. In these premises, Satapathy differentiated the sociology of education to educational sociology. He stated that sociology of education is the application of general principles and findings of sociology to the administration and/or processes of education including the accommodation, assimilation, cultural lag, subculture, and status. Educational sociology studies the problems of relationship between society and education; preparing the teachers in their tasks. Among the functions of education in society are mentioned by Satapathy –assimilation and transmission of culture or traditions, development of new social patterns, and activation of constructive and creative workforces. With these functions, it is essential to say that education has the biggest contribution in the development of a nation.

Moreover, Satapathy highlights the distinction of socialization and education. Satapathy explained that socialization is the process of preparing an individual to be a proficient social agent in society while education is being able to reflect critically on one's society or might include a range of refined cultural attainments whose value to the individual might seem clear but whose value to society at large is less clear. Further, socialization and interaction occur among the agencies of socialization. These agencies of socialization are the family, the school, peer group, the mass media, the workplace, and the state. This shows that individuals can learn from any of these agencies in socialization.

Knowing that society is composed of different social class, Satapathy made mention that inequality in education is one of the most alarming problems in society. Hence, the government and schools tried to reduce this inequality through scholarships and other financial incentives to reduce burden among less privileged families and encourage their children to study. Another way is by having college admissions to really offer the courses to deserving students. Satapathy also added that there are other ways to reduce educational inequality, these are the following:

  1. Ensuring that educational policies do not inadvertently aggravate pre-existing inequalities,
  2. Offering programs for children from disadvantaged families,
  3. Identifying specific problems faced by disadvantaged children in school,
  4. Improved monitoring of existing programs,
  5. Conducting research on school performance and techniques.

The above discussions hold that equality of education can be a way to improve individual’s life. Education also serves to achieve competencies, abilities, and skills which the work industry requires among workers. Disparities and inequalities in society must be eradicated to improve social mobility and reduce social reproduction among disadvantaged families.

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Reflection on the Article Written by S. Satapathy

Sociology of education is indeed a broad discipline to be studied by teachers. However, the knowledge and understanding that every teacher will gain from it will be very beneficial in the improvement of the individuals, institutions, society, and future generations. Sociology of education does not only provide systematic study but also provides basis for solutions and intervention that authorities can implement to solve the existing problems in an institution.

The discussion of Satapathy is a great paper offering details on theories, facts, and possible solutions that can be implemented. Pointing out the nature and dynamics of sociology, education, sociology of education, and educational education, Satapathy was able to convey the true essence of sociology of education. Understanding the theories regarding sociology offers the foundation why sociology must be studied and why must be offered to future educators. The distinction between education and sociology provided a better understanding of the concepts. Indeed, understanding sociology is crucial in preparing one to socialize with others while education is essential and making himself a better version by means of constant and meaningful reflections.

Letting oneself aware with the functions of education also helps in building and valuing education, itself. The functions of education mentioned in the paper of Satapathy, the assimilation and transmission of culture or traditions, development of new social patterns, and activation of constructive and creative workforces are truly valuable. Education helps individual assimilate culture to their own unique culture thereby creating an improved lifestyle and values to the individual and helping the individual understand others; which consequently transmitted in the next generations. Education through socialization also build new social patterns. These social patterns can be developed because of continues interaction among diverse culture or created because of the previously assimilated culture among people. Developing and training workforces who are ready in the industry is one among the functions of education. Education does not only build knowledge but also skills. Holistic development is what education aims for.

However, despite the crystal-clear functions of education, some educational systems failed to do its purpose because of inequalities. These inequalities are brought by diverse social class where most disadvantaged people are the most abused and neglected. The government of any country always strive and thrive to offer interventions. As mentioned by Satapathy, scholarships and college admissions can be ways to reduce educational inequalities; those are good solutions. Ensuring that there are policies on reducing inequalities in education is also a commendable effort of the government. The program for disadvantaged children is relevant, too. Examples of these are the scholarships, incentives, and specialized courses offered exclusively for them. Further, research also plays an important role in sustaining the programs and interventions which reduce inequalities in education sector, and to offer inclusive, equitable educational programs; both in basic and higher education.

The paper of Satapathy enlightened me on why sociology of education is very important. Some of my insights derived from this reading are the following:

  1. Education must be related with the context of the one’s society and values to let the learners appreciate its purpose, and consequently become the new asset of the society for its progress and development.
  2. Sociology in education is guided by many theories such as political arithmetic, structural functionalism, and socialization.
  3. Sociology of education is different from educational sociology. Sociology of education is about the general concepts about the society while educational sociology is a discipline which provides the understanding of the problems and challenges between society and education.
  4. Among the functions of education in society are (a) to assimilate and transmit of culture, (b) to develop new social patterns, and (c) to activate the constructive and creative forces.
  5. There is a distinction between education and socialization. Socialization can be defined as learning something by just observing while education can be referred to as learning something.
  6. Sociology of education is beneficial in reducing the inequalities in education by offering the analysis on how to design intervention or program that would solve the issues in the educator sector.
  7. Knowing that there are inequalities in education sector, the government must be able to come up with policies and programs that would promote inclusivity and equity in education.
  8. Teachers must be able to teach learners how to socialize to develop both their interpersonal and intrapersonal skills which are necessary in making them critical as they lived in the diverse society.
  9. Holistic development is function of sociology of education. Teachers must not only focus teaching the content but the skills, and other life and career skills as well. This is great in nurturing a future-ready citizen contributing in the nation building and future sustainability.


Satapathy, S. (n.d.) Sociology of Education. MA Sociology.

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