Thistopic presents the Fundamentals of Sociology of Education, focusing on the meaning of sociology, its functions, meaning of education and the relationship between education and sociology andeducation and society.

By theend of this article, you should be able to:

  1. Define Sociology as a concept
  2. Explain the meaning of education
  3. Establish the relationship between education and society
  4. Discuss the functions of Sociology.

Meaning of Sociology

Sociologyas a field of discipline is generic and umbrella in nature as it deals with the totality of human interaction and examination. It is a systematic study of social behaviours and humangroups.

It delvesprimarily into the influence of social relationshipson people’s attitudes and behaviours and on howsocieties are established and changed. To a lay man, sociology is the study of man’s interaction within the society but it extends beyond that as it deals with theorganization and control of man’s behaviours and attitudes within the society. As a field of study, sociology has an extremely broad scope because thesociety comprises of several sub systems withinherent fragmentations of component parts in each of them for sociological considerations.

Sociologyis concerned about social facts in the economy, education, legal, security,politics, medical, religion, family, technology, sports and so on. Within theprovince of these sub-systems both the structural aspects of human society andevery type of social relationship are being examined.

Thescientific assessment of the social facts within the society serves as anavenue to curb discomfort and instability in the society amongst the people.Hence, sociology as a field assists the members of any society to solveattitudinal, character, behavioural and social problems to actualize a healthygrowth and development of such society.

Sociologiststherefore are people serving the society in a variety of capacities as teachers, lecturers, researchers, journalists, workers in industry, personnel officers, social workers, administrators, farm planners, parsons, criminologists, probation officers and so forth. Itis on the basis of this thatthe basic knowledge of sociology is compulsory for scholars in all field of endeavour for better understanding of the society which they live.

Listat least five aspects of economy where you find the study of sociologyrelevant.

Functions of Sociology

Sociologyperforms several roles within the society as an indispensable impetus to enhance its continuity and stability.

  1. It assists in the analysis and clarification of different types of relationshipswithin the society which produce such social institutions and associationsthrough which the behaviour of individuals are organizedand controlled. It is the concern of sociology to identify why certainundesirable behaviours manifested in human beings and how such behaviour couldbe checked and reformed. For instance, within the society there are socialdeviants who probably get initiated or apprehended into such unacceptablebehaviours due to ignorance and other varied reasons beyond the victims’explanation. It is within the interest of sociology to probe into thefundamental causes of unacceptable behaviours through critical analysis of thematter to control and correct such misdemeanor. For instance, there is a case of unwarranted hostility and other related matter in an individual which he manifests while relating with others, the need arisesto analyze such behaviour for reconstruction and reformation. For example,there was a case of a “medical student” who always excels in all courses but hedrinks alcohol and sleeps under the steer-case of his hostel. The University authorityon discovery his problem recommended some courses for him in sociology in other to control his behavior  which logicallyreformed the student’s behaviour. Today he is a well behaved and renowned medical practitioner.
  2. Sociology exposes members of the society to how authority and power arederived within the society and why certain values, customs, beliefs and practices are up-held. All human beings are fundamentally the same when it comes to taste of power or occupation of priviledged positions. Every individual has propensity tocling into power and authority due to the benefits accruable from it. A dictumgoes thus “nobody tastes honey and spit it away” Authority and powers are assweet as honey. That explains why human beings pursue them daringly to enjoythe values attached to them.
  3. Sociology also attempts to establish the links between the differentsub-systems in the society. It studies the relationship, between the political system and the economic system or the relationship between the educational system and the political system orthe relationship between the legal system and religious system and so forth. A dictum goes thus, when one finger touches oil it affects the others, there is interrelatedness amongst allthe systems in the society and that is why there should be healthyfunctionality and relationship to foster growth and development. Any dysfunction in any system will invariably affect other systems.
  4. Sociology intimates individuals with the changes within the society and the effects of such changes on human existence. Through sociology, it is revealed that the society isdynamic and transitory in nature. In sociology, individuals become aware that thesociety is not static which calls for dynamism in thoughts and actions amongstthe people in order to be fully integrated from time to time. For instance,there is computer revolution globally at present. Every individual within theglobal society is expected to be computer literate in order to functioneffectively and to be fully integrated into the sub system within the society.
  5. Sociology examines human background and various forms of orientation within the society. Within the societal setting there are diversifications of cultural background andupbringing. The environment within which an individual is born and bread has significantinfluence in the values, beliefs, traits and ideas which the personinternalizes, conceptualizes, demonstrates, manifests and exhibits. With theunderstanding of sociology an individual is blessed withrebuff view about other people’s background. This will assist in tolerating andaccommodating others with differences in culturalbackground and orientation.
  6. Sociology also operates within the realm of human needs. In the society,there are basic social needs which individuals aspire to achieve for meaningfulexistence and purposeful survival. Sociology sets it upon itself to identifyvarious human needs in the society and explains how those needs are met andsatisfied. Sociology teaches people to only aspire to meet and satisfy those necessitiesof life that will assist in living decent and meaningful life. It explains thedanger in daring, aggressive and unwholesome approach to satisfy one’s needs.For instance, an individual who is involved in armed robbery, fraud, stealingand other illegalities to satisfy his needs is regarded as an unacceptablemember of the society. Therefore, it is unethical and immoral.

Meaning of Education

Educationcan be variedly defined depending on the purpose it is meant to serve and the discipline in perspective. In Sociology, education can be simply explained as an activity which goes on in asociety where its aims and methods depend onthe nature of the society in which it takes place. It is to make an individual understand the new society growing up around him of which he is an essential member.

Educationin the specific term is a means of making individualsunderstand their society and its structures. Thiswill assist such individuals to open up for them a way of creating meaning out of their environment andrelationships with other individuals in therealm of language acquisition and thought to classify and provide meaning to things, ideas and events.

A dictumgoes thus; an educated man is positive in character and constructive at thinking. This means that education is to provide well behaved individuals in the society and persons whohave the ability to analyze and organize ideasto be able to contribute meaningfully towards the development of the society in which theylive.

Educationin any society is to help transmit to the young the culture of that society. Inperforming this noble function, the parents, the teachers and other members ofthe society contribute. It invariably means that everymember of the society has the statutory function to transmit knowledge forthe survival of individuals. The home transmit informal education, the schooldelivers formal education while the open society transmit non-formal education.It is unavoidably possible to live in any society without one form of educationor the other. Hence, education is a veritable toolfor human growth and development.


Sociologyas a discipline is the scientific study of man in the society.

Thesociety is not in vacuum, it comprises of sub-systems which man interact withas a prime purposeful survival. There are several functions which sociologystands to perform in the society. It stands as a link between the differentsubsystems in the society; it analyses and clarifies the relationships withinthe society, it also intimates man in the society with the trend of the changesoccurring within the sub-systems and so on. Education is the training of anindividual in line with his culture and innovations within it to become an acceptablemember of the society with good conduct, character and behaviour for positive contributionto the growth and development of such society.


This topicexamined the meaning of sociology as man’s interaction in the society. It also itemized the functions of sociology with explanation of each function. It further treated the meaning ofeducation from the angle of human development in the area of morals andvirtues.


  • Listand explain five functions of Sociology of Education to students.
  • Discussthe relevance of education to the Society.
  • Explainthe problems that have characterized the Nigerian Societyas a result of Social Stratification.


Daramola,C.O. (2002) Introduction to Sociology of Education.

Lagos: RaytelCommunications Limited.

MolriricI (1980) The Sociology of Education: An Introduction.

Great Britain:Williams Clowes Limited.

OttawayA.K.C. (1978) Education and Society: An Introduction to

the Sociology ofEducation London: The Humanities Press

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