ISA World Congress of Sociology, Yokohama, Japan, July 2014

Research Committee on
Sociology of Education, RC04

RC04 main page

Program Coordinators

Number of allocated sessions including Business Meeting: 24.


For sessions program and schedule see

On-line congress program


Academic Mobility: Possibilities and Barriers

Session Organizer
David KONSTANTINOVSKIY, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia,

Session in English

This subject is very relevant in a globalizing world. Modern education for changing labor market is impossible without academic mobility. On one side academic mobility is welcomed by officials and it is reflected in formal documents. On the other side lecturers and students in various countries have unequal chances for academic mobility. Barriers are: differentiations of schooling programs; financial difficulties; information vacuum; government orders; public opinion; etc. This is characteristic to all levels of schooling.

We invite school teachers, university professors, any educational actors to discuss all aspects of the problems that they and their colleagues are faced in planning and realizing of academic mobility.


Educational Reforms for Reducing Social Inequality in Mandarin-speaking (Chinese) Societies

Session Organizers
Feng-Jihu LEE, National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan,
Jason Chienchen CHANG, Chinese Culture University, Taiwan,

Session in English

There is a common theme nowadays that perceives education as a vital mechanism to facilitate national development, economic growth and social progress. However, by critically analyzing recent educational reforms in developed countries, it seems that the notion of “raising economic competence”, rather than “reducing social inequality,” is gaining priority. That is to say, the global or international economic competition has emerged as a “New Hegemony” and the national response to the challenges it brought forth has, in turn, become the main reason for educational reform in most countries. The Mandarin-speaking societies are of course no exception.

Educational reform should be an important issue and a continuous movement for promoting human liberation and social transformation. Furthermore, social transformations and educational reforms taking place in the world cannot and should not be absent from a debate on inequality. Thus, this session is organized for critical discussion of educational reforms that have been put into action particularly for reducing social inequality and promoting social justice in the Mandarin-speaking (Chinese) societies.


Facing an Unequal World: What Challenges to Education?

Session Organizer
Antonio TEODORO, Lusophone University, Portugal,

Session in English/French/Spanish

Contemporary societies are going through deep changes at every stage of human life (from private life to the social models) that, as in every other process, generate bifurcation times. Schools, in particular, and education systems, in general, are among those institutions of modernity that are looking for new paths which can respond to such times of uncertainty and inequality. This is a time of profound skepticism about the future on some world regions (Europe, for example). But, in others regions, there are a strong belief about the education role to create fairer and free societies. What challenges to education in this unequal and different world?


Global Educational Expansion of Secondary Schools

Session Organizer
Shinichi AIZAWA, Chukyo University, Japan,

Session in English

Secondary education has expanded around the world in the past 100 years. For each country there is a different historical process for this expansion, but the national system of secondary education varies from country to country which makes it difficult for us to illustrate. The focus of this session is to theorize this wide variety in educational expansion through empirical studies. Some concepts such as “industrialization,” “privatization,” and “prestige of schools” may give us a hint to theorize global expansion. For example, industrialization often affects educational expansion in economically backward developing countries, because their government tends to focus on investing in both industry and education.

We would like to collect these empirical facts to theorize the global educational expansion of secondary schools. We welcome papers, preferably providing empirical evidence, concerning the expansion of secondary education all over the world.


Globalization and Neo-Institutionalism in the Sociology of Education: Theoretical and Empirical Advances

Session Organizers
Lawrence SAHA, Australian National University, Australia,
Joanna SIKORA, Australian National University, Australia,

Session in English

The purpose of this section is to examine the two dominant and related paradigms in the sociology of education. Globalization is a contested paradigm which has been used in a wide variety of disciplines to explain the convergence of various social phenomena, including education. Neo-institutionalism is a more specific paradigm which has attempted to explain the global convergence of educational structures and social psychological phenomena among educational administrators, teachers and students in a specific comparative context.

This RC04 section provides an arena within which both the theoretical and empirical foundations of both of these paradigms can be examined. Both theoretical and empirical papers are welcome, and the goal is to arrive at a closer understanding of these two perspectives, their interrelationship, and what evidence we have of their empirical support. Finally, it is hoped that directions for the future use of these paradigms in the sociology of education can be identified, debated and articulated.


Globalization, the State, Social Justice, and Education

Session Organizers
Tien-Hui CHIANG, National University of Tainan, Taiwan,
Jason C. CHANG, Chinese Culture University, Taiwan,

Session in English

The world has been stepping into the era of globalized system in which a considerable amount of profit tends to leave most nation-states with no choice but to conform to the rules of globalization. Eventually, neo-liberalism pushes away the legitimate obligation of the state to protect its citizens, so that the idea of welfare and equity is no longer on the political agenda, or at least declines in priority.

The new mission of the state is to bestow employability or individual self-sufficiency upon its citizens through education. This phenomenon reveals a new political ideology, with the market logic or individualism as an iron canon in public services, including education. Furthermore, in order to gain a considerable amount of capital profit, embedded in a global market, the crucial mission for education is to cultivate human capital rather than social justice. Consequently, the phenomenon of cultural reproduction would remain firmly.

It is a crucial moment to create a session for researchers to explore the impact of globalization on relevant key issues, including the state, its educational policies, practice and results. Certainly, the paper presenters should offer great insights to enrich the vision of the audience.


Growing Inequalities in Education: A Global Perspective for the 21st Century

Session Organizer
Shaheeda ESSACK, National Department of Higher Education, South Africa,

Session in English

In 1848, pioneering American educator, Horace Mann expressed the view that: “Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is a great equalizer of the conditions of men – the balance wheel of the social machinery.” Yet, inequalities in income within countries and across nation states especially in South Asia and Sub-Saharan South Africa (SSA) is increasing, gender equality and environmental sustainability continue to face external threats, a lack of progress in combating HIV curtails improvements in both maternal and child mortality. All of the wellresearched variables such as access/expansion, quality/equity, ICT/science and technology have provided useful insights in ways to address the challenges.

The focus of this session is to explore the following:


Higher Education and the Social Forces in the Job Market

Session Organizer
Maria Ligia BARBOSA, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,

Session in English/French/Spanish

All around the world there is a strong and sustained expansion of higher education, both in enrollment and as of graduates. In each country the percentage of people who go through this level of education is increasing. Besides the expansion of tertiary education it is also observed an important diversification process of the study areas, forms and duration of the courses and the types of diplomas and certificates issued.

As part of expansion and diversification processes mentioned above, the field of higher education institutions becomes increasingly hierarchical. Significant opposition is generated among the elite institutions and those that open their doors to social groups of more modest origin. Also new degrees of training can be distinguished, with the proliferation of courses and postgraduate diplomas. The strong relationship between schools and the labor market in modern societies is expressed in higher education that has become the safest way to get middle class jobs. However, as well as expanded educational opportunities at tertiary level the demands of the labor market for those middle class jobs also changed. New and different skills are required, new occupations are institutionalized and codified relatively autonomously in the market.

Given these movements this session aims to discuss studies focused on the following issues:


Mass Participation to Higher Education and Social Justice

Session Organizers
Marios VRYONIDES, European University of Cyprus, Cyprus,
Iasonas LAMPRIANOU, University of Cyprus, Cyprus,

Session in English

In many countries, official statistics present a picture of relative openness in higher education, in the sense that it shows an increasing number of students (male and female) progressing to higher education. These figures, however, do not shed light into the way young individuals and their families make their choices for their future and the social forms in which these choices are embedded. While more lower class students enter university, inequalities seem to arise from the unequal horizons for choice making. Middle class students and their families for example engage in choice-making at higher education with broader options while lower classes often have restricted horizons.

This session invites papers to address macro and micro sociological factors that relate to the structure of available opportunities on offer and its subsequent consequence for social justice.


National Educational Systems: Globalization Challenges

Session Organizer
Svetlana SHARONOVA, St. Tikhon`s Orthodox University, Russia,

Session in English

One of the main characteristics of globalization is unification of values, norms, structures, and so on. The Bologna process is one of the best examples of intense globalization of national education systems. The contradiction between the imposition of the unification and preservation of uniqueness of national educational systems is realized and accordingly is accompanied by EU members on at least two scenarios.

The first is EU member countries not belonging to the Socialist camp. The first scenario has two strategies of development of the Bologna process. One strategy strives to create a monolithic structure of the EU, something similar to the former USSR, where there are uniform requirements and standards in education, in employment qualifications, working conditions and so on. Another strategy is trying to follow the rules of the game without putting a hard change national educational system.

The second – EU member countries in the Socialist camp. These countries are accustomed to years of Socialist development of the ideological subordination of national education systems by the Bologna process as a new version of ideological uniformity and tried to formally match EU standards. This is the principle of standardization which was peculiar to the Socialist community. The paradox is that they try to follow standards that are not in the Bologna process.

Despite differences in the strategies of these contradictions economic problems come on the first plan. Europe has been a wave of indignation by striking students and faculty. But financial issues are always associated with the economic condition of society. Whatever was not happy a State financing for education is always dependent on the ideology of the State. The education system is becoming a priority in funding if the State builds a long-term strategy of its development and is striving to overcome the shortcomings of the existing economic and social relations. These priorities depend on the culture of a particular State. It is culture that determined the specific features of the national education system. It is culture that defines and specificity of work ethics, labour skills, a system of labour relations.

The proposed terms of matters to the scientific community is as follows:


New and Persisting Forms of Gender Inequality in Education: Theoretical and Empirical Advances

Session Organizers
Joanna SIKORA, Australian National University, Australia,
Lawrence J. SAHA, Australian National University, Australia,

Session in English

While gender equity policies in education have, without doubt, facilitated profound changes in reversing traditional gender inequality in access to education, gender remains one of the strongest determinants of many educational outcomes. Young women nowadays are, in many countries, more likely to expect and achieve university education. Nevertheless men and women continue to concentrate in different fields of study, and enter different occupations. On the one hand, within academia women continue to be underrepresented in the professoriate, in many fields and in prestigious research institutions. On the other hand, much attention has been directed to the recent rise of women within education, women`s educational success and the “boy problem.” This raises important questions about the relationship of the egalitarian ideology and the actual practices in schools and at universities. While direct gender discrimination is arguably a thing of the past, educational environments continue to be segregated by gender on a number of dimensions.

The goal of this session is to bring together the most recent research on old and new forms of gender inequality in education ranging from primary school classes to secondary and tertiary education, and gender segregation in the academia.

Both theoretical and empirical papers are welcome, and the goal is to arrive at a closer understanding of how and why gender inequities persist and emerge in new forms.


Professional Ethics in University Education: The Contribution of this Field of Research and Teaching to Face Inequality

Session Organizer
Anita Cecilia HIRSCH ADLER, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico,

Session in English/Spanish

Professional ethics is a relevant field of research and teaching, based in fundamental principles that were originally created by Biomedical Sciences and that because of their enormous contribution permeated all the other knowledge areas. The principal starting point for this development was at the end of the Second World War, with the Nuremberg Code in 1947, which initiated the regulation of medical research with human beings. The several codes that have being created since then, have achieved a consensus about four principles: Beneficence, Non-maleficence, Autonomy and Justice. The principles provide and important framework to search for different ways to face inequality in education.

We will like to debate this possibility and to incorporate other ideas from the session participants to answer the question: How can professional ethics contribute to diminish inequality?


RC04 Business Meeting

Session Organizer
Anthony Gary DWORKIN, The University of Houston, USA, gdworkin@Central.UH.EDU


RC04 Roundtable I. The Challenge of Global Educational Inequality

Session Organizer
Anthony Gary Dworkin, The University of Houston, USA , gdworkin@Central.UH.EDU
Karl SPRACKLEN, Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom,

Session in English


RC04 Roundtable II. National and Regional Patterns of Educational Inequality

Session Organizer
Marios VRYONIDES, European University of Cyprus, Cyprus,

Session in English


Recovering Knowledge for Sociology: Unequal Knowledges of Unequal Power

Session Organizer
Arturo ESCANDON, Nanzan University, Japan,

Session in English/French/Spanish

Knowledge is described as a defining feature of modern societies – we live in ‘knowledge societies’ and work in ‘knowledge economies’, but what that knowledge is, its forms and its effects, are neglected by sociology. Knowledge is treated as having no inner structures with powers and tendencies, as if all forms and their realizations are homogeneous and neutral. Most sociologies of education and knowledge focus on relations to knowledge (of class, race, gender, sexuality and now region), reducing knowledge to reflections of different kinds of social power.
This session comprises papers that address the forms of knowledge and pedagogic discourse and their effects for power relations, without succumbing to reductionism or essentialism. It builds on the rapidly growing school of social realist sociology of education, that draws in particular on the code theory of Basil Bernstein. Papers will explore how differences within knowledge and discourse are both shaped by and in turn shape differences in relations of power in education. A particular focus are how the organizing principles of different knowledge practices, affect educational outcomes, through relations with the different dispositions students bring to education and the different forms of curriculum and pedagogy they encounter.


Social Implications of Educational Inequities

Session Organizer
Siddharamesh HIREMATH, Gulbarga University, India,

Session in English

Education since long has been viewed as a social trait that determines conditions and quality of as well as equity in social and physical existence of people. Hence, education is accorded priority in planning, viewing it as an investment for better future. However, inequities in access to educational opportunities and attainments continue to persist and inequities in other spheres of social life are viewed as its functional derivatives.

Access to educational opportunities tends to be socially conditioned, and marginalization of social groups on the considerations of class, caste, religion, gender and ethnicity manifest themselves in exclusions and differential access to educational opportunities, which in turn are assumed to be having negative implications for equity and social justice in other spheres of social existence. Hence, academic deliberations on the causes, extent, nature and consequences of inequities in access to educational opportunities are viewed as of immense applied and curative significance in as much as they provide empirical insights into and estimates of such inequities for remedial policy measures. It is assumed that Sociologists probing into the complex social structure, functions and dysfunctions of education are aware of these developments in different cultural contexts and are seeking to discover equations and patterns underlying inequities in education and inequities through inequities education.

The session invites empirical and conceptual papers that deal contextually with the rationale, reasons, extent, nature and implications of educational inequities in diverse cultures.


Sociologies of Education: After the Fragmentation of Modernity and its Educational Projects

Session Organizers
Terri SEDDON, Monash University, Australia,
Julie MATTHEWS, University of Adelaide, Australia,

Session in English

This session mobilises sociological thinking to re-theorise educational spaces, educational work and educational politics that accompany global transitions to neo-liberal states. Our aim is to map the sources and debates that structure sociological work, which explains the re-making of educational projects, practices and politics in the 21st century as a way of re-grounding conversations about sociologies of education in ways that can step outside the discourse of 20th century schooling.

The transition to neo-liberal states is reconstituting national educational projects from schooling to skilling. Through the 19th and 20th eurocentric states mobilised schooling as an instrument of governing and staffing. These systems of schooling were designed to induct children and adolescents into nationalist practices of citizenship and to allocate appropriately prepared graduates of schooling to a stratified labour market and. Now, organisations dedicated to educational functions, such as schools, colleges and universities universities, are being re-engineered to service skill supply chains that coordinate globally distributed lifelong learning and its human capital flows.

These institutional changes integrate working and learning more intimately than in the modernist educational project and mobilise various forms of “applied learning” to bridge between skilling spaces and workplaces, opening up opportunities for work-related and work-integrated learning. Meanwhile, the cultural work achieved through 20th century schooling is reworked and sometimes sloughed off into emerging educational spaces that are differentiated for learners at the top, middle and bottom of the social order: global centres of learning for elites, private schools for the middle and aspirational working class, and a mix of welfare, learning and policing organised through community settings and the penal system.

Understanding these transitions and emergent educational spaces is now central to debates related to global sociology of education. These debates step beyond the national frames and methodological nationalist assumptions that prevailed in 20th century sociology of education and are beginning to develop concepts for understanding education outside discourses of schooling. It is an agenda that is being actively developed through journals such as Globalisation, Societies and Education, and book series, including the Routledge World Yearbook of Education, which since 2005 has been consolidating concepts and transnational debates and empirical research on education and globalisation. The European Sociologies of Education network, which had its inaugural meeting at ECER 2012 in Cadiz, has begun the process of identifying core themes in this emerging trajectory of sociological theorising.


Sociology of Higher Education

Session Organizer
Keiko YOKOYAMA, Score, Stockholm University, Sweden,

Session in English


Teachers and Globalization: Accountability and Mobility

Session Organizer
Carol REID, University of Western Sydney, Australia,
Anthony Gary DWORKIN, University of Houston, USA, gdworkin@Central.UH.EDU

Session in English/Spanish

Globalization pressures for the homogenization of curricula and standards, often based upon models that exist in Core nations. Neo-liberalism demands greater accountability for educational outcomes and often relies on externally-imposed, high-stakes tests and an assessment of schools and educators on the basis of the performances of their students on such tests. While reliance on external, standardized testing as an accountability tool is most often found in developed nations, the globalization of the labor market and the competition among all nations has led to the imposition of similar testing practices in developing nations.

The reliance on externalized, high-stakes tests for accountability tends to diminish teacher and administrator morale, heighten staff burnout, and the turnover school professionals. Underlying the relationship between school systems (and perhaps the society as a whole) and educational professionals is a social contract based on mutual trust. Such trust is abrogated when external accountability systems are imposed on schools and education practitioners. When burnout and turnover occurs, schools and school systems are challenged to provide adequate educator staffing. The results can be significant school overcrowding, with compromised student learning outcomes – both of which can challenge schools and school personnel to meet accountability standards. The process can be a vicious cycle. However, given the likelihood of greater globalization and demands for accountability, it is necessary for educational systems to develop and explore variants in assessment standards and practices that do not drive away educators and result in diminished student learning outcomes.

Abstracts are solicited that address the effects of globalization and accountability on teacher and administrator morale, burnout, and turnover. Additionally, the session seeks abstracts that examine possible changes in the implementation of accountability systems that will heighten student learning and create support and resiliency among the professional staff.


The Challenge of Education during Protracted Conflicts: Israel and Cyprus from a Comparative Perspective

Session Organizer
Gal LEVY, The Open University of Israel, Israel,

Session in English

Education is a seemingly consensual process. It is designed to reach out to the various parts of society, offering children of different background and life circumstances common grounds for personal development and for integration into society. This conception however constitutes a challenge in any society, all the more so in societies living under constant conditions of protracted conflicts. Cyprus and Israel are two such societies where ethno-national conflicts overshadow all aspects of life. Under these circumstances, the question of how do educational policies address and confront the condition of conflict becomes pertinent, and even symptomatic to an understanding of how education systems at large approach the notion of conflict.

The proposed session is designed to present and further elaborate on the fruits of a workshop, held under the auspices of The Open University of Israel Research Institute for Policy, Political Economy and Society in 2013, that brought together researchers from Cyprus and Israel, and from both sides of the conflicting societies. In this session, we ask to learn about the teaching of the conflict in each society, and to further investigate the lessons from each case. This, we hope, will help us extend our understanding of the challenges of teaching about conflicts elsewhere.


Transitions from School to Post-Secondary Education and Work

Session Organizer
Jeanne BALLANTINE, Wright State University, USA,

Session in English

Post-secondary work and educational opportunities raise questions about employment of low-skilled service workers versus high skilled tech jobs in the changing economic marketplace. Different countries and regions of the world have different strategies for developing a trained work force, lowering unemployment, and providing post-secondary options from skills training and apprenticeships to university education. What is being done in different nations to provide university and specialized vocational educational opportunities for the changing labor force is the focus of this session. What are models for dealing with the transitions to meet economic demands?


World Atlas of Adult Education

Session Organizer
Ari ANTIKAINEN, University of Eastern Finland, Finland,

Session in English

Opinions vary as to whether adult education and learning is a universal institution. At any rate, it is a very common institution that has spread all around. The UNESCO Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (2010) classifies the supply of adult education into three categories according to the sophistication of the supply. The empirical criterion is the placement of the country on the Education for All Development Index. In countries of low development adult education has been defined in terms of adult literacy, in countries of medium development in terms of human resources development, and in countries of high development in terms of a lifelong learning framework. The classification also reveals the key issues and the variability of the suppliers of education.

Adult education is, however, connected at least with the civil society, the state, and the market. Further, any development or social change could be studied from many perspectives like from a policy perspective (the fastest change), from an institutional perspective, and from a socio-cultural perspective (the slowest change).

What is the position and status of adult education in different socio-historical contexts and/or for different social groups? What kind of restructuring processes are going on? How to study the dialectical relationship between global and local/national? What sorts of learning histories, or contextualized life stories of adults, can we find?


Joint Sessions

Click on the session title to read its description and the scheduled day/time.

Future of Education: Innovation, Reform, Struggle, and Vision / Futuro de la educación, reforma, lucha, y visión

Joint session of RC04 Sociology of Education and RC07 Futures Research [host committee]


New Topics in Interaction between University and Society

Joint session of RC04 Sociology of Education [host committee] and RC23 Sociology of Science and Technology


RC04RC13 Roundtable. Leisure and Education in an Unequal World

Joint session of RC04 Sociology of Education and RC13 Sociology of Leisure [host committee]


The Comparative Sociology of Examinations. Part I

Joint session of RC04 Sociology of Education and RC20 Comparative Sociology [host committee]


The Comparative Sociology of Examinations. Part II

Joint session of RC04 Sociology of Education and RC20 Comparative Sociology [host committee]


The Future of Teaching and Research in Universities

Joint session of RC04 Sociology of Education , RC07 Futures Research and RC23 Sociology of Science and Technology [host committee]



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June 2014