Betwixt and Between Discipline and Profession: A History of Sociology of Education

Pamela Barnhouse Walters

in Sociology in America

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780226090948
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226090962 | DOI:
Betwixt and Between Discipline and Profession: A History of Sociology of Education

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Sociology of education emerged as an important specialty shortly after the founding of American sociology, but its location with respect to its parent fields—sociology and education—and its prominence within sociology exhibit a series of interesting continuities and discontinuities. This chapter situates the development of the subfield in the context of intellectual and organizational developments in the discipline of sociology more generally. It looks at the development of professional schools of education within the American university; shifts in prevailing understandings of the problems that beset education; and methodological developments within sociology. It argues that the ways in which scholars have managed the fundamental tension between two approaches to the sociological analysis of education—scholarship that uses the case of education to advance sociological theory versus scholarship oriented to the improvement of educational policy and practice—has shaped and constrained the development from its inception of what came to be known as the sociology of education.

Keywords: sociology; education; professional schools; sociological analysis; sociological theory; educational policy

Chapter.  11977 words. 

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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