The relevance of sociology for education
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The purpose of this chapter is to explain what the discipline of sociology is and how it is relevant for the study of education. The chapter begins with a description of sociology's central focus on how human beings live with one another. It makes the argument that this focus distinguishes sociology from related disciplines such as economics, politics and anthropology, which focus on other aspects of human behaviour. The chapter lays out the three dominant approaches to explaining and interpreting how human being live together, namely the functionalist, conflict and interactionist theory approaches. Then the chapter explains how the three dominant theoretical approaches in sociology are used in the study of education and the schooling process. The chapter concludes with a reflection of the significance of these three sociological approaches for understanding education in South Africa.