chapter  8
20 Pages

Developments in the sociology of education since 1950: from structural functionalism to ‘policy sociology’

WithKevin J. Brehony

This chapter concerns developments in the field. In order to assist cartographical ambitions in what is necessarily rather an impressionistic attempt to map developments in the sociology of education since the 1950s, the chapter attempt to define and delimit the field. The concept of field permits facts of the development of the sociology of education to be interpreted in ways different to traditional notions of 'discipline' or 'subject'. The chapter concludes with a brief account of the rise of what has been termed 'policy sociology' before returning to the evidence for and accounts of the decline of the sociology of education. Regarding the methods used in research by sociologists of education, the field is characterized by methodological pluralism. The chapter presents the demonstration of Miller, which has life for sociologists of education is possible outside education departments, but this situation is far from the ideal in which sociologists have something useful to say and to learn from education practitioners.