Sociological Foundations to Education

What is the Relation of Sociological Foundation to Education?

Essentially, the emphasis of the sociological foundations is on the group. It is imperative to maintain good human relations in the group in order to be able to work together with success.
The sociological foundations are concerned with the human relation’s factor–the behavior of individuals and their relations to each other. If the ultimate purpose of the social sciences is the improvement of human relations, that of education is the improvement of individuals; and therefore of human relations. The individuals and the group are two aspects of the same thing, hence cannot be separated. Man is a social being and exists as part of the group. Personality is developed in the group through interactions with others.


What is Society?
  • derived from the Latin word “socios” or socialis” – meaning fellow, companion, or associate.
  • a group of individuals with well defined limits which persists in time, thus enabling them to develop a set of common ideas, attitude, norms, and sanctions, interaction, and of techniques for living and fitting together (human arrangements)
  • formed based on man’s gregariousness or the tendency or desire of people to be with other people.
  • an organized group of population (Kessing)
  • composed of human beings and the institutions by which live together in the culture (Linton)
  • consists of all the people who share a district and continuous way of life (culture), and think of themselves as one united people (Dressier)
  • a social group that occupies territory, recruits its members by inter-group sexual production, and has a shared comprehensive culture (Bertrand)
  • a group of organized individuals who think of themselves a district group, who have something in common, a set of loyalties and sentiments, an esprit de corps which makes the individual under certain circumstances to sacrifice himself for the good of the group (Smith, Stanley, and Shores)

Concepts of a Group
  • a unit of interesting personalities with varied roles and status among members
  • a unit of interacting personalities with an interdependence of roles and status existing between or among the members (Cole)
  • a number of people at a given time, interrelated and interact with one another with common shared attitudes, sentiments, aspirations, and goals.

There is no limit to group size, but two (dyad) or three (triad) people can constitute a group provided there is interaction among them.

Kinds/Classification of Groups
  • primary or Gemeinschaft – intimate personal or face-to-face relationship, e.g. family parents and siblings neighborhood group; school/classmates. The three important primary groups in the education process: the family, the neighborhood group, and the school.
  • Secondary or Gesellschaft – impersonal, contractual, business, like, e.g. between seller and costumer; driver and passenger; sales representative and pharmacists.

Other Group Classification According to Self-Identification
  • In-group – in this group an individual identifies himself with the group and is a sense of belongingness; the individual learns the use of “me” and “we”, is characterized by a feeling of solidarity, camaraderie and a protective or sympathetic attitude toward the other members. When the “we” feeling becomes excessive (strong nationalism) it results in ethnocentrism – the belief that the group is the best and all others are inferior. While ethnocentrism defies the principle of cultural relativity – the belief that no custom is good or bad, right or wrong in and of itself – it has certain functions for the group such as; it contributes to group loyalty and promote group solidarity; it promotes conformity and becomes a form of social control; it promotes nationalism (Henderson 1972:29)
  • out-group - this is the group toward which one has a feeling of indifference, strangeness, avoidance, dislike, entagonism and even hatred (Bierstedt 1970:290)
  • Peer-group – a group where the members are approximately equal in age and social economic status.
    • play group – a common type of peer group, characterized by in formality and spontaneity most often without adult supervision
    • gang – more common among boys than girls: usually there is a formal organization with a recognized leader. Some social scientists say that a gang has the following statement: a recognized leader, passwords and values of behavior, a definite place of meeting or arrangements for getting together, and above all planned activities of anti-social nature.
    • Clique – is relatively smaller in size than the gang; arises when two or more persons are related to one another in an intimate fellowship that involves going out together; doing things together, exchanging intimate a personal matters involving emotional sentimental situation; membership is voluntary and informal; members have a commons set of values which determine whether one remains a member or is eventually dropped.
  • reference group
    • a symbolic reference or another for an individual as a point in making evaluations or decisions.
    • one to which the individual refers and with whom he identifies, either consciously or unconsciously.
    • in the phenomenon of anticipatory socialization, the child is anticipating his social role as an audit. He tries to act and behave in the way he visualizes the behavior of the individual whom he admits and expects to be like (e.g. doctors and professors).
  • voluntary association
    • any kind of formal organization in which membership is voluntary
    • may have a set of officers and constitution and by-laws which are highly flexible

Three main types of voluntary associations:
      • personal interest groups – cater to people having the same such as playing golf, chess, mountain climbing, basketball, dancing, aerobics, etc.
      • social service groups – those whose purpose cater to doing community, hospital, or welfare services usually referred to today as NGOs.
      • Political action group – associations working for the promotion of certain political ideologies or for the election of favored candidates (e.g. Aksyon Demokratiko).


  • mean function of society where in patterns of behavior and aspects of personality are inculcated
  • the process whereby the individual acquires the social and cultural heritage of his society (Bertrand)
  • the process of entering the human group, of being included into the secrets of society
  • process of internalizing the norms of standards of the group among a group
  • leads to learning the individual’s social position, in society which in turn determine his status. With status go certain right and privileges associated with a given social position.

  • one of the basic building blocks of social interaction
  • the position assigned by a person in a group or organization

Status Set
  • to all statuses a person holds at a particular time, e.g. a teenage girl is a daughter to her parents, a sister to her brother, a friend to others in her social circle, and a pitcher to a softball team.

Types of Statuses
  • ascribed – acquired or received at birth, e.g. family name, place of birth, sex, race, etc.
  • achieved – assumed voluntary and that reflects a significant measure of personal ability and choice, realized through hard work, talent, merit, etc. e.g. president, senator, professor, etc.
  • master status – a social position with exceptional importance for identity, often shaping a person’s entire life, e.g. gay status, President, Prime minister, consul, general, etc. (a person’s occupation functions as a master status)
  • a second major component of social interaction
  • behavior expected of someone who holds a particular status, e.g. the student role involves attending classes and completing assignments as well as devoting a substantial amount of time for personal enrichment through academic study.
Role set
  • a term introduced by Robert Merton (1968) to identify a number of roles attached to a single status (see drawing illustration)
Role conflict
  • the incompatibility among the roles corresponding to two or more statuses, e.g. parenting as well as working outside the home taxes both physical and emotional strength.
Role strain
  • incompatibility among the roles, corresponding to a single status, e.g. a plant supervisor may wish to be an approachable friend to other workers but his responsibility requires maintaining some measure of personal distance from each employee.
Role exit
  • the process by which people disengage from important social roles, e.g. ex-priests, ex-nuns, ex-husbands, ex-alcoholics, etc.


  • the system or process of assigning individuals their respective ranks in a society based on income or wealth, education, occupation, and life style.
  • the classification of group members according to certain criteria differ due to the nature of the group, e.g. low, middle, high.
  • a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy

Kinds of Stratification
  • “closed system” – allow for little changes in social position, e.g. “caste”
  • “open system” – permit considerable social mobility, e.g. “class”
Caste system
  • Social stratification based on ascription, e.g. Hindu caste and the “apartheld” of South Africa
Class system
  • social stratification based on individual achievement
  • more “open” so that people who gain schooling and skills may experience social mobility in relation to their parents and siblings

The Function of Social Stratification
Why are societies stratified at all? One answer, consistent with the structural-functional paradigm, is that social stratification has vital consequences for the operation of society. This argument was presented some fifty years ago by Davis, and Moore. (1945).

The Davis-Moore Thesis – the assertion that social stratification is universal because it has beneficial consequences for the operation of society.

  • implied by the Davis-Moore thesis that is productive society is a meritocracy; social stratification is based on personal merit; such societies hold out rewards to develop the talents and encourage the efforts to everyone.


  • the movement of a person from one status or social class to another.
  • may be achieved through such factors as education, good works, wealth, increased income, occupation, sex, and beauty, and other means.
  • Connotes that a person who belongs to a lower class, may go up the middle class if he studies, finishes a course, and gets employed.

Types of Social Mobility
  • vertical, upward, downward
  • horizontal

Other Varieties of Social Mobility
  • intergenerational – a change in social position between generation, as when one ends up in a different social class from one’s parents.
  • Intragenerational – occurs in the same generation, as when one changes social within one’s own lifetime

Educational Implication
  • since upward mobility can be achieved through education, every one should go to school.
  • there should be free and compulsory basic education (elementary and secondary)
  • the elementary school curriculum should have common content so as to give those from the lower class opportunity to go upward.
  • scholarship for higher education should be given by the government to poor but talented students.
  • the educational system should select and encourage those with special talents (in art, music, etc.) to develop them and aid should be given where needed and to the deserving.
  • etiquette and good manners should be taught to all so that even those from the lower class will feel at ease at special activities with the upper class.


The Family
  • an institution is an “organization” or establishment for the promotion of a particular object, usually one for some public, education, charitable, or similar purpose, e.g. the Red Cross, UP, LNU, etc.
  • characterized by being (1) relatively universal, (2) relatively permanent, and (3) distinct in terms of function.
  • may also be human, wherein a group of people organize around some important functions that define statutes and roles and facilitate achievements, e.g. the family, a universal institution found not only among civilized people but also in primitive society.
  • The smallest and most important social institution, with the unique function of producing and rearing the young.
  • composed of a group of interacting persons united by blood, marriage, or adoption, constituting a household, carrying a common culture and performing basic functions.
  • a socially sanctioned group of persons united by kinship, marriage or adoption who share a common habitat generally and interact according to well-defined social roles that maintain and protect its members and perpetuate the society. (Bertrand)
  • a relatively small domestic group of kin who functions as a cooperative unit for economic and other purposes (Popenoe)

Classification of the Family
  • family of orientation – the family into which people are born and in which the major part of their socialization takes place.
  • Family of procreation – the family that people create when they marry and have children.

Family Structure/Composition
Based on Internal Organization or Membership
  • nuclear or conjugal (based on marriage) – a two generation family group which consists of a couple and their children usually living apart from other relatives; places emphasis on the husband-wife relationship.
  • Extended or consanguine (shared blood) – a group which consists of one or more nuclear families plus other relatives; consists of the married couple, their parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins; place primary emphasis on the “blood ties” with various relatives.
Based on Dominance of Authority
  • patriarchal – a family in which the authority is held by the eldest male
  • matriarchal – authority is held by the oldest female
  • matrifocal – the woman is the central and most important member
  • matricentric – the female is the authority figure in the absence of the male at work
  • egalitarian – a family structure in which the husband and the wife are equal in authority and privileges
Based on Residence
  • patrilocal – a custom in which the married couple lives in the household or community of the husband’s parent
  • matrilocal – involves a married couple living in household or community of the wife’s parents
  • neolocal – the couple lives apart from either spouse’s parents or other relatives
  • avunculocal – prescribes that the newly married couple resides with or near the maternal uncle (mothers’ brother) of the groom. This type of residence is very rare. The opposite is amitalocal residence.
Based on Descent or Lineage – the way in which kinship and lineage are traced over generation
  • patrilineal – the father’s side of the family is defined as kin
  • matrilineal – the mother’s side of the family is defined as kin
  • bilateral – the system used in most industrial societies (e.g. U.S.), children’s kinship is tied to both sides of the family and both male and female children are entitled to inherit.

Choice of Mate

All societies place some restrictions on the choice of sexual and marriage partners. Incest taboos are powerful prohibitions, against sexual relations between close relative (e.g. between father and daughter, mother and son, brother and sister).

Marriage Norms or Patterns
  • endogamy – prescribes marriage within one’s group – same social category (e.g. race, religion, village, social class).
  • exagomy – the social norm that prescribes marriage outside one’s own group
  • homogamy – the practice of marrying people with the same social, racial, ethnic, and religious background (as most Americans do)
It serves two important functions: (1) it increases the chances that the children of a union will be exposed to reasonably consistent socialization experiences, and (2) it reduces disputes over issues other that child socialization.
Although people tend to marry others much like themselves, another tendency operates and this is called…

  • marriage gradient – the tendency of men to marry women below them in age, education, and occupation

Other Forms of Marriage
  • monogamy – marriage between one man and one woman – serial monogamy
  • polygamy – marriage involving more than one husband or wife; plural marriage
§ polygyny (Greek, meaning many women) – one man is married to two or more women at the same time
§ polyandry (Greek, meaning many men) – one woman is married to two or more men at the same time
§ cenogamy – when two or more men mate with two or more women in group marriage.

Functions of the Family
  • reproduction and rearing of the group
  • cultural transmission or enculturation
  • provide the needed socialization of the child with respect to his role and status
  • provide love and affections and a sense of security for its members
  • provide environment for personality development and growth of self-concept in relation to others
  • serve as an important mechanism for social control.
  • sexual regulation

Alternative Family Norms (Macionis, 1998:313-35)
  • one-parent families – headed by a single mother/father
  • cohabitation – the sharing of a household by an unmarried couple
  • gay and lesbian same sex couples
  • singlehood

Educational Implications
  • since the family is a very important institution, education for the family life should be part of the curriculum
  • people who intend to get married should be oriented regarding their obligations so that the marriage will be successful
  • in Japan, there is a school for brides. There should be a school or course, not only for the brides but also for grooms.
  • since the average Filipino family is big, the school should teach the advantages of small families.
  • enculturation being a function of the family should pass on only worthwhile values, customs, mores, beliefs, and traditions.
  • sex is the propagation of the race and should therefore be engaged only by married people
  • it is not only the children who need an education, but also the parents
  • young people should not rush into marriage, but should give themselves time to find out whether they are really in love and suitable for each other.
  • since children are the ones who suffer from broken homes, couples should try hard to be reconciled and their parent, relatives, and friends, should help them toward this end.
  • couples should consult marriage counselors if they often quarrel or are drifting apart so that the marriage may be saved.

The School
  • another institution that also takes care of socialization and enculturation
  • an institution established by the society for the basic enculturation of the young
  • a certain building having a unity of interacting personalities, a field of social forces, a system of formal-informal control, a special cultural world, a community service agency (Cook and Cook)
  • schooling – is a central component of education in industrial and other societies where formal instruction is done under the direction of specially trained teachers (Macionis 1998:334)

The Functions of Schooling (Macionis 1998:337)

Structural-Functionalist analysis focuses on ways in which schooling enhances the operation and stability of society.

Socialization – as societies become more technologically advanced, social institutions must emerge beyond the family to help socialize members of the society to become functioning adults. Important lessons on cultural values and norms are learned in schools at all levels.

  • Cultural innovation – education is not merely a transmission of culture, it is also a factor in the creation of culture through critical inquiry and research.
  • Social integration – through the teaching of certain cultural values, people become more unified. This is particularly critical function in culturally diverse societies.
  • social placement – schooling serves as a screening and selection process. Performance is evaluated on the basis of achievement. It provides an opportunity for an upward mobility, however ascribe status still influence people in terms of their success in our educational system.

Latent Functions of Schooling:
  • schools serves as a source of child care for the rising number of one-parent and two-career families.
  • among teens, schooling consumes much time and considerable energy, inhibiting deviant behavior.
  • schooling also occupies thousands of young people in their twenties for whom few jobs may be available.
  • high schools, colleges, and universities bring together people of marriageable age, many of whom meet their future spouses in the classroom.
  • school networks provide not only friendship, but valuable career opportunities and resources later on in life.

Learning – is the lifelong process that includes social and personal experiences that alter ones knowledge, behavior, and attitudes (Propenoe 1995)

  • the social institutions through which society members are with important knowledge, including basic facts, jobs, skills, and cultural values.
  • takes in a host of ways, many of their as informal as a family discussion
  • the formal institution that directs many of the learning experiences within a particular society.
  • the consciously controlled process whereby changes in behavior are produces in the person and through the person within the group. Therefore the ultimate a goal of education is the effective participation of individual in the total process of social interaction whether in terms of social, economic, health or any desirable human value.
  • provides a study of the regular patterns of relationship between society and the educational process and the explanation for such relationships, which contributes to the analysis of problems confronting the educational system.
  • may be formal or informal

Formal education sets definite objectives and goals, which are realized through systematic formal instructions and methods.
Informal education consists of learning, through interaction with others in the group, learning may be acquired through suggestion, observation, examples, imitation, and inculcation from any of the primary and secondary group or people one is engage in.

Functions of Education:
Functionalist Perspectives
  • socialization – the most familiar socialization function of education is to transmit knowledge and technical skills, but students also learns the values and norms of their culture.
  • social control – schools are expected to persuade their students that it is necessary to behave according to society’s values and norms.
  • Selection and allocation – the main burden for selecting and allocating people to other particular occupational positions rests with the schools.
  • assimilation and sub-cultural maintenance – a major purpose of education has been to assist in the process assimilation, the absorption of newscomers into society.
  • innovation and change – education is often conservative force, but some aspects of education do promote social change especially by producing and spreading new knowledge, values, and beliefs.
Conflict Perspective
  • tracking – a system that divides students into different groups of classes on the basis of academic ability, which usually starts as soon as a child enters schools.
  • credentialism – the requirement of advanced degrees for certain jobs is seen by functionalists as a way of making sure that the best people are hired to fill important positions.