Patricia L. Johnson
September 26, 2011
Sociological Theories and Education
In the world there are many types of scientific pursuits that try and make sense of all the different things that happen to people and how it affects them, sociology is but one of them. Merriam-Webster defines sociology as “the science of society, social institutions, and social relationships; specifically: the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behavior of organized groups of human beings.” (2011) Simply put, sociology is a way of studying what, how, and why people do the things that they choose to do. In sociology there are three well established theories, functionalist, conflict, and social interactionism, each of which gives a different way of looking at society. Functionalist theory basically suggests that society is made up of interconnected institutions and supports strength through social harmony. (Vissing, 2011) Conflict theorist make the case that there is an ordered system of inequality that is beneficial to the people and organizations that have more power and resources than others. (Vissing, 2011) The third theory, that of symbolic interactionism that focuses on the way that meaning comes about through social interactions and symbols. (Marshall, 1998) In this paper, the focus will be on one specific social institution or a large social organization like religion, education, healthcare, etc. (Vissing, 2011) and for the purposes of this paper education will be the primary focus. Sociological theories have had a major impact on the institution of education; in this paper they will be examined and evidence will be provided to support this.
In this section of the paper, the institution of education will be looked at from a functionalist perspective. Education is but one part of society and is key in developing strong and productive members of society. The system is... [continues]
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