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SOC 3340 (8)
Chapter 1

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SOC 3340
Victor Ujimoto

The Schooled Society – Chapter 1 Thinking Sociologically about the schooled society Introduction: what is a ‘schooled society?’ - education plays a more prominent role in society now than ever before - formal education has moved to the centre stage of social life over the past century - compared to religion, politics, or economy, education is a relatively young social institution - increasingly rely on the education system to rationalize and justify the social order - increasingly central to our personal life histories - most spend decades in school - school attendance is one of the few mandatory things in life - more jobs and career paths require educational certification - educational attainment is becoming a stronger predictor of people’s income and employment success - schooling has become the major route for social mobility - Canadian schools are now the institution that embodies core values of equity, progress, and technical sophistication, values and associated practices that are intrinsic to modern society - not only shapes our future biographies and life courses, also shapes the organization of society - personal and public - crucial role in nation-building and citizenship - classifies and regulates who works where – creating and rationing access to specialized roles - have become more tightly connected to labour markets - forms of schooling becomes a core part of all big organizations – on-the-job training and company-specific certificate programs - governments and corporations turn to universities to generate innovative research to fuel wealth creation - boundaries between institutions have blurred - school become more central to societal organization - more and more social problems are seen to have education solutions - many now expect schools to tackle an incredible variety of social ills – drug use to racism to violence to health promotion more aspects of modern life have become “schooled” thinking sociologically about schooling the art of applying science to study society - collect systematic evidence - examine objectively - offer theoretical explanations that are logically sound - our social behaviour isn’t subject to the same absolute regularity - since people have intentions, the social world cant operate according to universal laws of motion, and sociology can never have the exact predictability of physical sciences - social science differs from natural science by recognizing the fundamental fact of human agency, the unique ability to make meaning, to choose, and to behave intentionally - any science of schooling must therefore incorporate the creative agency of humans - social behaviour is often regular, stable and predictable - human agency ensures human behaviour isn’t entirely determined, also not random - people have the capacity to choose, but they often choose to act rather predictable - social forces have probabilistic, not deterministic effects on people - no one is fully determined by their social surroundings - the regularity of human social life is not naturally determined - human social arrangements vary immensely – people’s personal choices, cultural traditions, - psychology is a social product of human socialization - sociologists understand complex behaviour as ‘emergent phenomena’ – products of the interplay between individual psychologies and larger social forces - macro forces channel individual actions, motives, meanings - social forces create regularity in complex human behaviour that is roughly analogous to the force of instincts on other animals and to physical laws - ‘social structure’ – recurring regularity - ‘structure’ – solidity or permanence - ‘social’ – interaction and meaning - social structure generated by human conduct not natural forces - social structures are flexible by enduring ensembles of interconnected rules and resources - human agency is challenged by the power of macro-level forces to create complex social structures describing links between schools and society - what do schools do? - premise it that it is impossible to dissect the inner workings of schools in isolation from society - everything is connected - seeking to understand an institution out of context inevitably leads to
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