Sociology of Education PDF Print

Y12 - Sociology of Education

Tutor: Anna Tsatsaroni

Semester: 4th

ECTS: 4.5

Short Description:

The course presents competing approaches in the sociology of education – structural functionalism, symbolic interactionism, Marxism, feminism, critical race theory and post-structuralism. These perspectives are then applied to major themes such as social reproduction, the politics of knowledge, multicultural education, identity, and teachers’ work. The course emphasises the importance of understanding social and educational values and the ways in which these underpin and impact upon the work of both researchers and educators.


The main objectives of the course are:

  • The familiarisation of students with the competing approaches and the complex theories that have been developed in the scientific domain of the sociology of education.
  • The study of the classical research studies, which constitute exemplars of sociological analysis in each of the competing approaches within this domain of theory and research, contributing to its recognition and development.
  • The study and understanding of more recent approaches, as well as characteristic contemporary studies on crucial educational topics.
  • The critical engagement of students with this object of study and the development of their abilities to apply their knowledge on major topics of educational policy and practice.  
  • The understanding of social and educational values, which underpin the theoretical ideas.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon the successful completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Know the competing approaches and the complex theories, which constitute the scientific domain of the sociology of education.
  • Appreciate the significance of the sociological perspective in understanding education.
  • Demonstrate ability to approach critically the literature sources.
  • Utilise knowledge and skills for the sociological analysis of institutions, processes and outcomes of educational systems.
  • Utilise theory and the existing research studies and related knowledge in the analysis of major topics in the sociology of education.
  • Demonstrate ability to apply their knowledge and critical skills in the analysis of current issues of education policy and practice
  • Recognize the social and educational values which underpin basic theoretical ideas that are the prism through which the field of education is conceptualised and insight on educational policy and practice is gained.        

The course is designed to help students develop the following competences: Search different sources, analysis and synthesisof data and information drawn mainly from the basic literature of the subject, observation skills, adequate analytical abilities, sociological modes of argumentation, critical thinking, innovative thinking.  


13 three-hour sessions. The course is taught through a combination of lectures and seminar types of learning. During the latter, students utilize the learning materials of the course and the attempt is to help them develop abilities for a critical reading of the literature, as well as skills for the sociological analysis of institutions, processes and outcomes of the educational system. Teaching in this form facilitates students’ active participation to the learning process.
The teaching and learning process is supported through the electronic platform e-class.


Students’ assessment follows two alternative ways:
(a) Combination of methods: Assessment of a short essay, based on the bibliography and the learning materials of the course (30% of the total score), and a final written examination (70%). (b) A written examination (100%).
Students get warnings about the fact that when the assessment is based on the combination of the short essay and the written exam it usually works in their favour, and also that writing an essay facilitates a deeper understanding of the content of the course and contribute to productive learning.     


Blackledge, D. & Hunt, B. (1994/1985) Sociology of education, Athens, Metaichmio.
Fragoudaki, A. (1985) Sociology of Education. Theories on social inequality in the school, Athens, Papazisi.
Gewirtz, S. & Cribb, A. (2011) Understanding education A sociological perspective, Athens, Metaichmio.
Kantzara, V. (2008) Education and Society. A critical exploration of the social functions of education, Athens, Polytropon.
Lamnias, K. (2002) Sociological theory and education. Distinct approaches, Athens, Metaichmio.
Mylonas, Th. (2004) The reproduction of the class system through the mechanisms of the school, Athens, Gutenberg.