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Popular but peripheral: the ambivalent status of sociology education in schools in England

Cant, Sarah, Savage, Mike ORCID: 0000-0003-4563-9564 and Chatterjee, Anwesa (2020) Popular but peripheral: the ambivalent status of sociology education in schools in England. Sociology, 54 (1). pp. 37-52. ISSN 0038-0385

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0038038519856815


This article reports the largest UK study of sociology school teachers’ views of the discipline. Drawing on the sociology of the professions, we reflect on the ambivalent positioning of sociology in schools. Despite buoyant uptake, teachers claim that sociology is perceived as dated and has lower status than other elective courses, often described as a ‘soft’ and ‘easy’ subject that anyone can teach. While many students are reported to benefit from the transformative education that sociology affords, the failure to designate the subject as facilitating entry to higher status universities serves to further marginalise the discipline. We argue that sociology in schools is weakly bounded, poorly supported and lacks strong professional coherence. While this allows sociology to have an open, critical and reflexive character, it comes at the price of not being able to control delivery in schools and make claims for high status.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 SAGE Publications
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2020 10:24
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 21:30

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