Week 6: Reading Sociology Part 6

Estimated Reading Time 00:04:03

Reading Sociology

Part 6: Education

Chapter 22: The Rise of the “Research University”: Gendered Outcomes
by Maureen Baker

There are two paradigms: “research universities” and “teaching universities”. Universities are changing from “teaching” based to “research” based. Men tend to hold more senior titles and work longer hours than women. Also women tend to retire early, possibly due to child care responsibilities.

Basically, this paradigm shift is disruptive and really doesn’t sound all that good. University is turning beaureaucratic and academics get disheartened. Men seems to be more confident in their career prospects and more willing to work long hours or relocate.

More men accepted the long-hours culture and values inherent in the promotion system. The “corporatized” university that privileges research and international prestige tends to favour masculinized behaviour that is competitive and sometimes confrontational. This suggests that the gender gap will persist even as more women rise through the ranks.

Maureen Baker

Chapter 23: Education, Ethnonationalism, and Non-violence in Quebec
by Matthew Lange

A study by Lange and Dawson (2010) finds that education is actually positively correlated to ethnic violence, except in wealthy countries. Why?

  • The educated are overrepresented in separatist blocs such as Parti Québécois. In fact the movement only became a powerful force once the education system expanded to increase the number of educated individuals.
  • Independence is to the interest of the educated. The more educated a Québécois is, the more likely he/she is to believe that Anglophones earn more than Francophones.

But why not erupt into violence?

  • Quebec is a rich province with high GDP and standards of living.
  • Anglophones started to treat Francophones better after WWII.
  • The Canadian state was pretty nice to the movement and didn’t coerce the opposition into violence.
  • The Canadian institution gives the movement an outlet. e.g. participate in the Parliament.
  • Proletarians have nothing to lose but chains. But the rich French bourgeois? They have not a lot to gain but much to lose.

While grievances and interests pushed many educated individuals to organize and support the Quebec separatist movement, the political and economic environment severely constrained grievances and reduced incentives for ethnonational militancy.

Matthew Lange

Chapter 24: From International Universities to Diverse Local Communities? International Students in Halifax and Beyond
by Sinziana Chira

You know how they have to include (at least) one dry and boring piece in each part of RS just to tick you off? Yeah, this is the one.


  • Highly skilled immigrants are desirable based on assumption of human capital.
  • Immigration used to be shaped by the government, but increasingly businesses and universities attract immigrants on their own.
  • There’s an increase of international students in Halifax due to lack of government funding. The universities and the private sector had to market themselves to appeal to international applicants.
  • International students are “ideal immigrants” because of high (and skilled) education in Canada.
  • But would these students stay in Canada? They can’t find a job or settle down easily because of their lack of social ties. There are “nuanced power dynamics”.

Notable quotes:

In Halifax, spaces of negotiation between the needs and duties of governmental branches and private stakeholders continue to shape the success of international students in becoming Canadian citizens.

Sinziana Chira

Chapter 25: Segregation versus Self-Determination: A Black and White Debate on Canada’s First Africentric School
by Shaun Chen

In 2008 TDSB voted 11 to 9 to approve the first-ever Africentric alternative school.
The author is in favour of the Africentric school.

  • Critical race theory suggests there is a collective voice spoken by people of colour from racialized experiences.
  • Reports say that Black students are disengaged in schools and face low expectations.
  • Ultimately the argument boils down to three points:
    1. Presence of racism (for) vs. absence of racism (against): from narratives of the Black people in education system racism seems to indeed exist. Opponents base their arguments on the assumption that “since Canada is a liberal democracy, racism can’t possibly exist”.
    2. Self-determination (for) vs. segregation (against): proponents view Afrocentric school as a place for enablement with voluntary enrollment. Opponents view the school as a backtrack to 1954 as an alternate form of segregation.
    3. Equity (for) vs. equality (against): equity is a means to achieve equality. Treating people differently to reduce social hierarchy is called equity. Ultimately, the author argues, this results in equality.
  • There are lots of paradoxes and contradictions as with liberalism.

Notable quotes:

It becomes clear, then, that the perspectives put forth by opponents rest on misinformation and false assumptions of what the school will be and for whom. The arguments fail to address the underlying impetus of improving black student outcomes. They also fail to understand the direness of current racialized realities and the means through which equality is achieved. Instead, they serve to help demonstrate how racism is deeply embedded within ostensibly liberal claims to racial equality.

Shaun Chen

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SOC103 Notes by digitalhardhat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Week 6 Lecture Notes – Starting Points Ch. 12

Estimated Reading Time 00:09:08

Lecture 6: Schools and Education

Guest Lecture by ___ ____.

Four Sociological Perspectives on Education
-functionalism: social order and stability
-critical theory: social inequality
-feminism: gender inequality
-symbolic interactionism: social meaning and personality development

Hypothetical situation:
You lost marks because you didn’t follow the correct citation format. YOU COMPLAIN. Then you get the following response:
1.Responsible employee
If you don’t follow guidelines, you get fired.
2.Value of university degree
If students can’t even follow simple guidelines, what would that make our university? Do you think this is a joke? Do you think the university is a joke? Do you think I’m a joke?
3.Leadership skills
Small portion of your grade is based on your ability to follow instructions. If leaders don’t follow laws, what would become of our country?

-Society is a complex system with different parts that work together to promote social stability.
-Behaviour is governed by stable patterns of relationsh
-Focus on social norms, values, customs, and traditions
-Main question: how can major institutions create consensus on core social values and, thus, promote social stability?

Talcott Parsons
-Modern functionalist. American. From Harvard.
-Strong social values and norms act as the very concrete that holds our society together.
-The school system must train people to become functioning adults.
-Children enter a school system and cease to be an individual. They are a part of social groups.
1.Socialization: students learn social norms and values
2.Selection: individuals allocated different positions based on personal merit

Students must internalize norms and values.
Positive sanctions: encourage desirable behaviour
Negative sanctions: discourage undesirable behaviour
5% deduction = minor negative sanction.

Positive sanctions are usually more prevalent when children are younger. e.g. stickers/pizza parties/etc.
Most sanctions you come across in the university are negative sanctions. e.g. 5% deduction for not following instructions.
It’s kinda difficult to acclimatize to this!
Most serious negative sanction: probation, failing, etc.

A functionalist would argue that this is a good thing. A university is the last stop before society. We need to prepare you for society! Tough love approach.

Socialization & Hypothetical Situation
Superficial lesson: follow instructions
Hidden fundamental value: respect authority
Authority -> socialization -> responsible employee/university degree/leadership skills.

For Parsons it’s paramount that people learn to respect authorities. Responsible employees respect authorities. Reputation of university associated with its students’ ability to respect authorities. Democratic leaders are accountable to the people, so no one is above the system. So even leaders need to work within the system.

Merit: an earned and justifiable claim to:
a) Minor Positive Sanctions (e.g. respect or praise)
b) Major Positive Sanctions (e.g. high salary or university degree)
Ideally, judgement of merit should be neutral and everyone should be given an equal opportunity to succeed.

Meritocracy -> socialization -> responsible employee/university degree/leadership skills.

If a person can’t follow rules, he doesn’t have enough merit. If the university does not have a rigourous selection process, then good degrees are not dealt on basis of merit. Students who don’t follow instructions don’t have enough merit to become a leader.

Minor negative sanction: 5% deduction
Minor positive sanction: none
Major sanctions: job/degree value/possibility for leadership position

The only thing the professor told you is the minor negative sanction. He didn’t tell you about the major sanctions! But they are implied.

Hidden curriculum
“Lessons that are not normally considered part of the academic curriculum that schools unintentionally or secondarily provide for students.” – Tepperman 2011: 336

Values promoted: authority and meritocracy
Value outcomes
Responsible employee -> obedient workforce
Value of university degree -> credentialism
Leadership skills -> social hierarchy

Alternative rationale:
If you want to gain more control over your own life, you have to learn how to work within a larger group of people. What would happen to a group if everyone followed their own rules? A groups will disintegrate if its members are not reliable, trust worthy, or, in shot, socially responsible.


Educate — from its latin root — means to “lead out of…”
Like Moses!

Education: the ideal — people expect “education” to:
-provide them with a wide range of skills to prepare them for an uncertain future
-in this way, help them surmount social obstacles and disadvantages

“In an unequal society like ours, many people in the society — especially the ones in the middle and at the bottom — embrace education as a means to overcome social disadvantages.” – Teppy

-The process works by awarding credentials to deserving candidates
-The advantaged few gain valuable credentials: tickets of entry into top occupational groups
-These powerful groups limit entry (M.D.’s) and demand high payment for their services
The best credential is (ideally) handed out to the best people

Why the high demand for credentials?
“The beauty of credentials is that, not only are they a ticket, but they are also based on seemingly fair basis of selection.” – Teppy
i.e. NOT inheritance.
“The beauty of going to medical school is that you get a lot of money without holding a gun to another person’s head.” -Teppy

Credentials have two sides. They get you what you want AND you look good.

For the last 50 years, college grades have been creeping upward.
-Since 1960, grades in North American universities have tended to rise due to grade inflation.
-This has not been limited to any particular kind of colleges, public or private.

Are people getting smarter? No. This represents pressure on institutions to give people higher grades.

Unequal access to the best credentials
-Students from better off families are more likely to attend university.
(Persisted for 35 years!)
-Therefore, class position continues to pass down from one generation to the next.

“For some reason, class tends to reproduce itself, not only in the inheritance of money, but also in the inheritance of credentials.” -Teppy

“Let me put it this way. The top half at U of T are exactly as smart as the students in Princeton. There is no difference in the quality of students or the quality in education. But there is a difference in the outcome.” -Teppy

Partly this social selection works by streaming poorer students AWAY FROM university.
-The effect of streaming is to reproduce inequality by giving less affluent students fewer credentials and opportunities.
-Like high tuition fees, this perpetuates class position from one generation to the next.

“A Great Training Robbery”? (Ivar Berg)
-On the other hand, many graduates are underemployed, given their educational attainments
-or overeducated, given the kinds of jobs available
-how much education do people really need?
-are we giving the right number of people the right kinds of educations

Why take university grads? University grads spent 4 years for additional socialization.
But how much education does one REALLY need? What makes a university degree different than a community college degree?

Women were particular beneficiaries of this expansion.
-In 2011, the post-secondary education attained by women aged 25-44 was twice as high as that of women aged 65+
-contributed to gender equalization

On the other hand, other groups continued to lag behind.
e.g. Inuit people.

Why educational expansion?
-A century ago, schools only provided basic skills and knowledge, discipline, and social training for work.
-Young people worked after high school.
-Today education leads to upward mobility.

More education = more secure employment
-since 1992, the unemployment rates of people with a college degree have remained lower than for anyone else.
“The data are absolutely unambiguous.” -Teppy

People on average make more money with more education.
Men with a university degree have the highest earnings.

Other factors affecting educational expansion
-The baby boom: parents wanted more opportunities for their children
-The need for public expenditure on research and development: economy demanded more research scientists, more patents and copyrights
-Expansion was particularly marked in the sciences and technology: Western government in a space race with USSR demanded more mathematical and scientific literacy

One institutional response: the rise of research universities
-Top North American universities aim to train researchers and produce research findings
-Undergraduate teaching is a (minor) aspect of this process
-student satisfaction and student employment are minor concerns
-This is reflected in the way University of Toronto measures its success, in its own eyes
-will look at an annual report shortly

The “Academic Revolution” by Jencks and Riesman
-Bureaucratization of American societies means:
-Graduate schools have rise to dominance with narrowly specialized curricula, heavy research agenda, and all-PhD faculty
-Working like a funnel, the top graduate schools receive the best graduates of the best undergraduate colleges

The U of T is Canada’s leading research university
-Canada has seen a process of educational reform similar to that described by Jencks and Riesman
-Partly thanks to the role of John Porter in promoting higher education

Performance Indicators for Governance — Governing Council
-Number of Canada Research Chairs

In Canada – especially Ontario – provincial funding has fallen behind
-In the last 25 years, the funding of higher education has decreased

A second problem facing educators: the non-academic (youth) subculture
-In North America, the youth subculture is anti-academic and anti-intellectual
-To verify this, check out TV channels, movies, and websites aimed at young demographic

The adolescent society
-James S. Coleman: “plight of education”
-Looked at the STUPIDITY of American adolescents

1.Students jude and reward appearance and a few other qualities (e.g. athletic ability) according to a widely shared student code
2.Nerds are ostracized because they uphold grading standards others are unable or unwilling to meet

The educational paradox:
-formal education is ever more important in shaping people’s life chances
-at the same time, teens are getting stupider!

Coleman’s sample
was impeccable

Teens hate school.
Even students from better-off families.

In a way, students behave like alienated workers.
They develop a collective response to demands by people in authority.

Crestwood Heights by Seeley
Undertaken in Forest Hill, an affluent community in Toronto
Very posh
The goal was to study “the culture of child under pressure for conformity”
Seeley was concerned about children’s mental health:

They are under so much pressure to perform.
What are the consequences for kids and parents?

Parents were upper class
professional or managerial
well off, very successful: typically a self-made man.

They viewed the kid as a problem to be solved.
How do they make their kids a shining success?

Careers are the priority
They teach their kids to be “perfect”.
Their kids need to be competitive and successful.

School is the central institution where you can train a perfect child.

Training for “bureaucratic crawl”:
Values shift from stress on individual achievement to stress on co-operation, other-direction, and a submergence of the individual in the group.

Tension for teachers, parents, and teachers.
Anxiety continues:
-North American middle-class parents and immigrant parents continue to drum into their children strong needs for achievement
-Develop anxiety about obtaining good grades, pleasing the teacher, and getting ahead
-How much anxiety is enough? How much anxiety is too much?

Week 6 – Starting Points Ch. 12

Reading Time 00:15:26

Starting Points

Schools and Formal Education

Education used to be a privilege; now it is a way to gain credentials, which leads to credentialism — the rising need for ever more sophisticated educational qualifications.

Besides work training, education also instills societal values. So it is a form of primary socialization. Students learn to behave as responsible and informed — in other words functional — citizens.

Education isn’t a level playing field. e.g. Harvard. Social advantages are passed down through higher education. Both socio-economic inequality and values and aspirations are important in the study of education.

Meritocracy would be nice: but how would you differentiate between people? Wouldn’t the criteria themselves be biased? Tests are not always fair. Sigh my SATs but nevermind that.

Schools have limited resources (except maybe Harvard). People have limited time and energy and money. Politicians are swayed by popular opinion.

Diversity in student body may create conflict, but more often widens students’ horizons. What is it about schools that result in formation or destruction of social bonds? We will find out by studying formal and informal education.


Functionalists focus on manifest and latent functions of education.
Manifest: give students literacy and numeracy, maybe training (come on, how’s that a bolded word?!) for jobs or being informed citizens.

Critical theorists often focus on latent functions of education.
Latent: warehousing unemployed (or unemployable) people, especially during times of high unemployment. Keep young people off the streets.
They studied schools as a source of hidden curriculum.

  • Maybe the boredom you experience at school PREPARES you for the boredom at work!?! (No. That’s a horrible way to live. A life without passion.)
  • Schools are meritocratic — sends an ideologically suitable message in a capitalist society.
  • Schools also teach students how to dress and behave. As girls or boys. Or even as doctors, lawyers, managers, etc.

Increasingly, institutions of higher education is interested in producing knowledge and translating knowledge. i.e. Research.

Classic Studies: The Academic Revolution

1968 by Christopher Jencks and David Riesman (looks like Riemann). Looks at historical ties between schools and societies, and examines evolution of higher education in post-industrial society.

The Academic Revolution recounts rise of “research universities” in the 20th century. American society bureaucratized, leading schools to transform into a national system of higher training. Top high school students go into top undergrads go into top graduate schools.
University characterized by specialized curricula, heavy research agenda, and an all Ph.D. faculty. University without these are considered sub-par.

So universities increase research and decrease undergraduate teaching (cough cough) to raise their international profile. Professors gained greater visibility and importance. Increasingly these professors — concerned with research and graduate teaching — determine the character of undergraduate education. These professors promote meritocracy.

Of course this shift created conflict. Youth who resent adult authority, locals who resent foreigners, the religious who resent secular education, social elites who resent lower classes oppose this change — “generational war”.

This academic revolution has not succeeded fully. Positions at top universities are limited, students from wealthy backgrounds continue to gain entry the most easily. (Cough cough Harvard). Jencks and Riesman say that this is due to unequal structure of American society. (Well. Yeah.) And more energy must be directed to make society more equal. Otherwise efforts to create meritocracy will be futile.

But still, education has been important to upward mobility. As John Porter had said.

More recently Jonathan Cole said in The Great American University: Its Rise to Preeminence, Its Indispensable National Role, Why It Must be Protected: social values and social and economic structures behind each research university is important. Why do universities produce scientific research and technological innovation? Because they have a standard of excellence in accordance with scientific research. (As opposed to religion).

Jencks and Riesman described the US situation but what about Canada? Canada has a smaller system (even per capita) with smaller inequality. The best are not THE best and the worst are not THE worst. Comme ci, comme ça. Canadian universities focus on research too though. So students pay more and more. Right now half of a university’s operating costs are paid by student tuitions.

Andrew Hacker is not happy. He wrote Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids — And What We Can Do About It. He said tuition fees are too much, tenured professors don’t teach and relegate the job to adjuncts, graduate programs are too big for their own good, Ph.D.’s can’t get jobs, all the money goes to med school, science, or business with none left for humanities. Students get an education they don’t need and can’t use, while putting themselves in debt for the next 10 or so years.

Criticisms for Jencks and Riesman.

  • Tedious read! with no new insights. (Bidwell, 1969. I bid him well.)
  • Suggestions for reform are half-hearted.
  • Ad hominem! People feel personally attacked by remarks on “marginal colleges”: the local, black, religious, and women’s colleges.

But others find it revealing and persuasive! Bidwell said their secondary analysis of various data on college and university attendance is especially praiseworthy.

Educational Inequalities

Schools did a good job to level the playing field. Do you know that girls to better than boys at elementary, secondary, and even (whatever that’s supposed to mean) at post-secondary levels?

Continuing gender differences — in salary and rank — reflect not a failure of education. It’s just that, most women don’t choose higher-paying, traditionally male-dominated careers. Some blame higher education, but self-selection is important too.

Ethnic groups have experience increases in education too. Although to be fair it may have to do with immigration policies. The unnecessary requirement of Canadian working experience often forces educated immigrants to work for jobs for which they are over-qualified. Immigrants push their children to work hard and get college/university education. Aboriginals though are still underrepresented. There are some stats in the book check it out.

Children from poorer socio-economic backgrounds are generally less likely to gain a higher education. This begins early in life.

Classic Studies: The Adolescent Society

James S. Coleman based The Adolescent Society on a survey of US high school students. Coleman finds out that — academic achievement means nothing, and looking good means everything! If you are academically successful but unattractive, well, GG.

Coleman argues that this teenage subculture is largely separate from the adult world. Where, well, good looks do count but so does hard work. The adolescent way of thinking discourages academic ambition and undermines the preparation for workforce.

Why has this culture developed? Industrialization separated adolescents from adults, leading them to gain approval from peers. New non-adult bases of evaluation developed. Academic success is viewed as conformity.

Some critics say that those teens’ parents are just shallow. So this book is a hidden critique of American culture and society. Problems schools and educators face are indeed cultural and motivational, not merely economic.

Teenage relationships are inherently conflictual. So much drama!

Ability Grouping or Streaming

Some schools segregate different kinds of students by ability grouping/tracking/streaming. Debate continues.

Three main types of ability grouping
1. Ability grouping: common in elementary schools. Students are divided into “slow”, “average”, and “advanced” readers. etc.
2. Setting: “Honours”, “academic”, “applied” course codes, etc.
3. Tracking/Streaming: students move as one block, taking all classes together. Referred to as a “core group”.

Advantages of streaming: pupils advance according to their abilities; failures are reduced; bright students are not bored; less likely to confront students with their inadequacy.

Disadvantages: lack of able students to stimulate learning; stigma; unnecessarily trap young people if assessment not accurate (Einstein wasn’t very bright as a child); higher levels simply receive more work rather than different work. Teachers may not want to work with slower students. Minorities are not socialized to be ambitious. Lower-stream students receive instruction that is slower-paced and of lower quality.

Segregation or Distance in Schools

Not all students are created equal. Some parents choose private schools. Reason? Better education, less student variety, more instillation of values. Currently they are even thinking of “black schools”, like segregation all over again, which of course the textbook scoffs at.

Some parents home school. It’s an increasing trend. Children remain at home to be taught and it is considered legal. But there are difficulties with respect to the curricula. Why? Don’t want to be brainwashed, don’t want to be multicultural or egalitarian, don’t want to be secular or scientific. Which of course the textbook scoffs at.

Some parents isolate their children from the opposite sex. Does it help? Research is inconclusive. On one hand this saves time and energy. On the other students don’t know about the opposite sex which can cause trouble trouble trouble.

Classic Studies: Crestwood Heights

What is the connection between family life, school experience, and mental health? John R. Seeley wrote a book.

Crestwood Heights is a project to learn about the mental health of children in Canada. Post WWII. Seeley wants to study “the culture of the child under pressures of conformity”. What’s a child’s culture? What’s his values, goals in life, and problems? (see UP) Focused on Forest Hill community of Toronto.

To the residents of Forest Hill, the child is a problem to be solved. Like other things in life. They want a trophy child. A child that they can be proud of. These parents are successful and upwardly mobile people, usually businesspeople or professionals. To varying degrees they all want their homes to look like Hollywood movies or haute-couture photo shoots.

They teach their children to be “perfect”: competitive and successful in their pursuits. Children are a reflection of the parent. They need to be successful in scout groups, music lessons, and in school! School is a place where children can prove their worth. Thus the Parent-Teacher Association becomes important. It retrains parents and restrains teachers.

There is tension. Parents don’t like their children below A which leads to grade inflation. Which means they’ll get destroyed in universities.


  • Small and biased sample space. (Bidwell, 1957, good to see him again).
  • Elkin (1957) said book is descriptively vague and lacks a theoretical framework. Mostly anecdotes.

Praised for “faithful ethnography”.

Even 50 years later many of the same patterns exist. Especially immigrant parents socialize their children to be ambitious and independent (rather than, say, dutiful, generous, or pious). Often the values schools promote are just an extension of parents’ values — ambition and advancement.
But social capital and cultural capital matter too.

Abuse or Violence in Schools

Bullying is bad and a source of concern. With Internet comes cyber-bullying. Bullies terrorize their victims, physically, emotionally, or socially. They consume their souls. Bullies are either buff or popular at school (or both). Forms include a “roughing up”, threats, or gossip (this one is usually by girls), or exclusion.

Childhood bullies are also likely to display anti-social behaviours in adulthood — 40% of childhood bullies have violent tendencies as adults. Motives originate at home, and bullies often imitate their parents. Bullies show aggression to many people, even teachers and parents, with little empathy.

Victims are often associated with tension, fears, worry, low self-esteem, and depression. Bullies grow up to be bullies. Victims may or may not still be victimized when they grow up.
Five out of six students say they feel uncomfortable when they see someone get bullied.

Bullying is not merely psychological but also social. E.g. bullying serves a function in the “adolescent society” of Coleman — to distinguish winners and losers. Bullying often focus on certain culturally supported stereotypes — handicaps (deafness, blindness, obesity, etc.), unpopularity, or homosexuality. e.g. Calling victims “gay”. Hyper-masculine activities (like football) are especially likely to encourage bullying.

The Integrating Power of Schools

It is in the school setting that children broaden their base of close friendships. School brings people together by driving them apart. We are cleaved from our parents and able to form relationships with our peers.

Early in life, we are most concerned with our relations with parents. But at school we are aware of a much larger world. We are confronted with moral doubt. And we grow and see identities and goals of our own. We want to find our true selves but also be part of the crowd.

Schools contribute to the evolution of independence. From adolescence into adulthood. How?

  1. Schools bring together large numbers of young people, giving them an opportunity to communicate and interact easily.
  2. Most children want to make friends, and school provides this opportunity.

Erik Erikson (nice name…) said that we all grow up following a predictable human life cycle, made up of 8 stages. At each stage we are faced with a specific task. If we complete it and beat the boss, we can advance to the next level. We’ll look at two of them.

Stage 4: latency stage, 6-12 years old. Children learn new skills, developing a sense of industry and competence. They also develop socially, comparing themselves to others and (sometimes) feeling inadequate and inferior. As these times they confront problems with their self esteem. Most significant relationships are school, neighbourhood, and peers. Parents are important but not the most important.

Stage 5: 12-19 years old. Development depends mainly on what they do, not what others do to them. Neither children nor adults – life gets more complex as young people try to find their own identities, struggle with social interactions, and grapple with moral issues. Ultimate goal is to find the self to move forward.

At this stage adolescents may distance themselves from their families: Erikson calls this a “moratorium” of family relations. Because they lack experience, adolescents substitute ideals for experience. They develop strong devotion to friends and causes, wanting to idealize them. Most important relationships are often peer groups.

It’s so good to be young!

James S. Coleman

A Columbia grad, Coleman understands well how young people influence one another. Coleman did one of the largest studies in history and surveyed over 150000 students. This report is called Equality of Educational Opportunity. Aka Coleman report.

Coleman said that students’ achievements do not depend on school funding but depends on student’s background and socioeconomic status. e.g. Black students perform better in mixed schools instead of segregated schools — leads to desegregation!

Coleman is interested in how schools provide cultural capital (as opposed to the Frenchman, Bourdieu, who contended that cultural capital are passed down through inheritance. Kind of an interesting illustration of American vs. French thinkings.) and social capital.

Lillbacka (2006) is the first to try to measure social capital empirically, through indicators as 1) interpersonal trust, 2) a strong social network, 3) self-confidence, and 4) belonging to voluntary associations.

Healy (2004) said that social capital is contextual. What works in one situation may not work in another. So social capital is kind of like currency – Canadian dollars may not work in Sri Lanka!
Healy and Lillbacka say that these contextual problems cannot be solved. But they can be improved!

Barnett (2005) tested Coleman’s hypothesis that “Catholic schools instill more social capital than public schools”, and therefore Catholic students do better in school. Barnett found that Catholic school students do have more social capital but not necessarily do better.

Bankston (2004) looked at immigrant children — ethnicity is a kind of social capital. But it’s only beneficial if that ethnicity endorses cultural values that pertain to school achievement.

Ethnic minorities — especially, immigrants — benefit from what Raymond Breton (student of Coleman) called “institutional completeness”. Students benefit from integration into their ethnic group, and they benefit from higher aspirations. That’s not it though. They benefit most from an interaction of the two.

e.g. Chinese Canadians will have more educational payoff than integration into a culture that doesn’t value education that much. So education depends also on “cultural investments”.

Bonikowski (2004) says that stratification studies like Coleman’s (which emphasize on socioeconomics) do not consider the effect of curriculum on academic outcomes. Curriculum design itself may be influenced by socioeconomy. So Bonikowski says that the theory is incomplete — did not consider all variables.

Elster (2003) says Coleman is perceptive but dogmatic. Apart from lack of variables, Coleman is following the “rational choice theory”, saying that social investment is conscious. It may not be. e.g. Teens and their fixation on sports and acne? Oh gee.

Lindenberg (2003) says that Coleman isn’t practical enough. Coleman did very little institutional design, so why should anyone listen to him? (Article: How to Keep Learning as an Expert). Lindenberg says that Coleman is trying to be all microeconomical, but life isn’t microeconomics!

Coleman’s later work involve “economic sociology” and “mathematical sociology” — often hard to understand! Some sociologists are simply not good at math. Others view it as and oversimplistic, overidealized approach. But Coleman may have potential.

Coleman is trained as both an engineer and a sociologist and he deserves some respect.

New Insights

Scott (2009) writes about Chris Searle who taught with “resistance education” — a way of reaching awareness and freedom to the working class. Scott notes that Searle’s writings draw on his own students’ lives and thoughts in the practice of critical literacy.

All Are Welcome
Davis tells a story. Searle spent most of his time at non-white schools where he brought together Yemeni, Pakistani, and white students, along with the community. Polar opposite to Crestwood Heights.

The Truth Behind Truth
Roth (2009) says that discovering and imparting truth cannot be the goal of education for postmodernists. A “new critical language of education” must be massed on understanding and justification.

This Woman is High
Amatucci (2009) describes learning and teaching as a personal search. Education should be emancipatory — “freeing”, in a sense.

Porn Frees Our Souls
McNair describes another emancipatory form of education — “pedagogy of porn”. Pornography became more and more available, and is influenced by feminism, gay rights movement, and Internet.

Yea, It’s My Life, In My Own Words I guess
Klugkist (2009) said that telling personal stories can help you “rewrite yourself”. Former students of a private European school in South Africa tells their stories of how they behaved in school long after. They were able to lean more about themselves.

Whosoever Slayeth, Vengeance Shall be Taken on him Sevenfold
Henry (2009) is traditional and used survey data. He studied the 1999 mass murder at Columbine High School in Colorado. Theretofore school violence was examined in isolation, but not anymore! Henry proposes an interdisciplinary approach.

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SOC103 Notes by digitalhardhat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.