Sociology of Education: theories, communities, contexts is a comprehensive book compiled by a group of authors and edited by Gabriella Pusztai. Each of the three units of the book is carefully curated to provide in-depth analyses of crucial topics in the sociology of education. Key terms have been thoroughly defined by the authors, giving readers a comprehensive understanding of the ideas presented in the book. The book's core theme is the significance of comprehending education as a deeply embedded social phenomena, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe and as part of global trends. The reader is occasionally immersed in the region's social, political, and educational environments. This distinguishes the book from other handbooks in the field and makes it more specific to a geographical area.
Sociology of education handbooks are excellent resources for anyone seeking to gain a broad understanding of the field. However, regionally relevant handbooks are needed to provide insights into the unique educational challenges and opportunities of a particular region and offer a more nuanced perspective on global educational issues. This new book fills an important gap in the literature and provides a much-needed resource for those seeking to understand the sociology of education in a specific context.
In the three thematic units of the book, a wide range of topics is covered, including theories relevant to sociology of education, the socio-economic factors that shape educational processes, and the role of education in shaping cultural and social identity. Through detailed explanations, the book gives insight into complex interactions between education and society. Readers are provided book and article recommendations at the end of each chapter.
In the first unit, the book explores the interpretive paradigms of socialization at school. It comes up with a holistic understanding of how schools shape the socialization of students and how their experiences at school can impact their social development. The author applies several theoretical perspectives to offer a subtle analysis of this process. Then a comprehensive examination of the different forms of capital that students can utilize to succeed in their academic careers is presented.
A chapter in the is dedicated to the topic of gender in education. The ways in which gender impacts educational experiences and outcomes are discussed, and the chapter explores the ways in which gender-based differences and rivalry manifest in educational settings. An analysis of the gendered dynamics of education and their implications for social and economic inequality are presented. The final chapter on resilience and compensating factors is a fitting conclusion to the first unit. It offers a hopeful message about the power of resilience and the importance of supportive factors in overcoming educational challenges. The author examines the contribution of individual and contextual factors in promoting resilience and offers insights into how students and teachers may have supportive environments that foster resilience and promote educational success.
The second unit of the book focuses on the relationship between education and various communities. It provides a comprehensive analysis of family communities and family in rearing a child regarding mental and physical development and their role in shaping the socialization of children. It also highlights the importance of the relationship between schools and families in ensuring children's successful integration into society. Then the focus shifts from families to communities of ethnic minorities. The book addresses questions of both national and minority identity, as well as the possibilities and problems of minority education. It discusses different models of minority education and education in mother tongue. Additionally, a detailed picture of higher education in the former Hungarian territories is included. Following that, the attention turns from the Hungarian minority to the Roma community in Hungary. The book highlights the importance of understanding the cultural values and beliefs of the Roma community, as these factors influence their attitudes towards education and child-rearing. It also examines the challenges faced by Roma children in accessing education and the reasons for their possible dropout.
According to the book, communities with religious affiliations have a significant impact on education. It argues that religiosity and religious socialization is related to positive educational outcomes and it may provide students with a strong sense of community and identity. It underscores the importance of recognizing the broader impacts of volunteering, both for individuals and for society as a whole. By engaging in voluntary work and participating in voluntary communities, individuals can develop important skills and values that contribute to personal and collective growth and development. Furthermore, it provides a sociological perspective on sports participation and its effects on individuals' socialization and academic performance. The author applies Bourdieu's theory to bolster her argument about the social factors that influence sports participation and emphasize the educating function of sports. Then the reader is confronted with the views of another sociologist, Durkheim, about the idea that education is not limited to formal institutions such as schools but encompasses all processes that shape individuals into social beings by transmitting the human ideal in a society. In the book, media is recognized as an integral part of the sociology of education due to its important role in socialization and the transmission of knowledge.
The role of work in the family and the importance of schools in educating students about work are additional topics of discussion. Different stages of socialization into the workplace and career socialization are presented, how individuals become involved choosing their careers, familiarizing themselves with the labor market, and preparing to adjust to the workplace. It also highlights the role of part-time student employment in career socialization and in the transition from education to working life. The book takes a socioeducational approach to trace the progression from being a student to entering the teaching profession in a chronological manner. It presents an overview of the various stages involved in a teacher's career. It addresses that education systems across Europe are sometimes struggling to recruit the most passionate and skilled young individuals to the teaching profession. By referring to research, it shows complex and diverse factors that contribute to this issue, such as inadequate salary levels, poor working conditions, and a lack of recognition for the profession. Additionally, the author suggests strategies for helping new teachers overcome the initial hurdles of their careers and preventing teacher attrition.
By exploring the impact of time use patterns, spatial inequalities, value transmission, and teacher quality, the book's final chapter emphasizes their role in shaping society and its future. It discusses the typical time use patterns among different social groups from various regions. It explains how social classes or groups may possibly use time and factors for differences between them. Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of studying time use as it provides insight into the difficulties that some student groups may face when adjusting to school schedules. The book shows how socioeconomic inequalities can be translated into educational inequalities. The family background of students significantly impacts their academic progress and behaviour in school. Furthermore, the characteristics of the students' residential environment also influence their academic performance. The author directs a message towards the teachers about their crucial role in addressing these inequalities.
The book argues that however individuals who grow up in diverse and pluralistic societies are exposed to a variety of different value systems, their own personal values are often shaped by the values they are taught by their parents and educators during their upbringing. It also raises important questions about the transmission of values by schools and the challenges associated with studying value preferences, which are the particular values that individuals prioritize over others. Also, the role of collectivist and individualist cultures in transmitting values has not been forgotten.
Finally, the book explores the characteristics of effective teachers and their impact on student achievement. It explains that effective teachers require strong human and social capital, including qualifications, professional development, and positive relationships with colleagues and students. It addresses that teacher qualifications, particularly having a degree in the subject taught, have a significant effect on student outcomes. Professional development is also important, with long-term courses proving effective. Social capital, built through positive social environments and shared values, is necessary to utilize human capital. In this sense, student-teacher relationships and teacher-teacher relationships are important sources of social capital.
In all, this book is a very worthwhile read for anyone interested in the sociology of education. Whether you are a teacher, researcher, or teacher educator, you will find valuable insights on its pages. The book covers the most important topics in the field and provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of research. With its clear and engaging writing style, the book is accessible to a wide range of readers, from beginners to experts. It is a highly recommended source for anyone looking deep into their understanding of the role of education in society and the social factors that shape it.