Research Committees


Published in ISA Bulletin number 27, year 1981
Prepared by Kurt Jonassohn
ISA Executive Secretary 1974-1982


Even though the Committee was only constituted in 1971, preoccupation with educational problems has been evident at least since the Third World Congress of Sociology held in Amsterdam, 22-29 August 1956.

As part of the "Transactions of the Third World Congress of Sociology," Vol. V dealt with "Changes in Education" and included ten papers on 'Education and Social Mobility in Industrial Society' and six papers on 'Education and Social Mobility in Economically Underdeveloped Countries.'

Three additional papers were contained in Vol. VIII which also printed two reports on discussions concerning education and social mobility. Contributions were from the following countries: France (3), UK (3), USA (3), Australia (1), Canada (1), East Africa (1), Gold Coast (1), Israel (1), Lebanon/Egypt (1), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (1), USSR (1), and Yugoslavia (1).

In the "Transactions of the Fourth World Congress of Sociology," Vol. III, 'Abstracts of Papers and Discussions,' there were edited abstracts of twelve papers presented in the section on 'The Application of Sociological Knowledge to Education' and a report of the discussion.

The meeting was chaired by Jean Floud whose introductory review of the field was published in Vol. II of these "Transactions." Including this last paper, the contributors' countries of origin were the following: UK (5), USA (5), France (2) and FRG (1).

During the Fifth World Congress of Sociology, held in Washington in 1962, nine papers were presented on the problem 'Education and the Formation of Elites," and one of them appeared in "Transactions of the Fifth World Congress of Sociology," Vol. III.

Information from Annual Reports shows that the Committee on Sociology of Education was accepted as a member of ISA in September 1962.

In 1965, its President was A.H. Halsey (UK) and the Secretary was O.G. Brim Jr. (US). There were eight other members coming from: US (2), Denmark (1), France (1), FRG (1), Poland (1), Sweden (1) and UK (1): Due to reorganization, the Committee did not submit an entry for the 1966 annual report.

At the Sixth World Congress of Sociology, held in September 1966 in Evian, there was a Round Table on "Sociology of Education and Development," chaired by A. C. Pearse where 25 papers were presented.

At the sessions of the Committee on Sociology of Education, 24 papers were delivered (one of them also being presented to a Round Table), thus making a total of 48 papers on Sociology of Education presented at Evian.

Their authors carne from: USA (15), France (6), Poland (4), Chile (3), England (3), Denmark (2), GDR (2), Hungary (2), Italy (2), Belgium (1), Brazil (1), Greece (1), Fiji Islands (1), Israel (1), Morocco (1), Romania (1), South Africa (1) and USSR (1).

Two papers presented at the Round Table in Evian were included in “Transactions of the Sixth World Congress of Sociology," Vol. III. Another two papers, presented during the sessions of the Research Committee, appeared in Vol. IV of the same "Transactions."

At the Seventh World Congress, held in 1970 at Varna, there was a working group on the subject 'Education and Cultural Planning': President, Pierre Bourdieu (France); Vice-President, A. H. Halsey (UK); and Secretary, Antonina Kloskowska (Poland).

The official program included 49 papers whose authors carne from: France (7), Poland (7), UK (5), USA (5), USSR (5) Switzerland (3), Czechoslovakia (1), Canada (1), FRG (1), India (1), Netherlands (1), Portugal (1), Romania (1), Venezuela (1), and one author whose origin was not well-identified.

In the "Transactions of the Seventh World Congress of Sociology," Vol. III, seven papers were published.

A proposition to re-establish a Research Committee on Sociology of Education was signed in Varna by 25 persons coming from: USA (5), Belgium  (2), Canada (2), France (2), Australia (1), Chile (1), Denmark (1), UK (1), FRG (1), Hungary (1), India (1), Italy (1), Netherlands (1), Romania (1), USSR (1), Venezuela (1) and Switzerland (2).

In the following year, 1971, the current Research Committee on Sociology of Education was constituted for a trail period of two years.

Executive and members

The Committee's membership, except the Board, was composed of sixteen persons (May 1971): USA (4), Belgium (2), Canada (1), Chile (1), Denmark (1), UK (1), France (1), India (1), Netherlands (1), Romania, 1), Switzerland (1) and Venezuela (1).

The first provisional Board was the following:

President Pierre Bourdieu (France)
Vice-Presidents Jan Loubser (Canada)
Bernard Bernstein (UK)
Vladimir Shubkin (USSR)
Secretary Antonina Kloskowska (Poland)
Members Charles E. Bidwell (USA)
Zsuzsa Ferge (Hungary)
K. Luscher (Switzerland)
Guido Martinotti (Italy)

In September 1972 the Research Committee had 47 members coming from: USA (13), France (4), UK (4), FRG (4), Belgium (3), Poland (3), Hungary (2), Japan (2), Switzerland (2), Austria (1), Czechoslovakia (1), Finland (1), Greece (1), Italy (1), Mexico (1), Portugal (1), South Africa (1), USSR (1) and Venezuela (1).

Only two members of the Board attended the meeting in Toronto: Bidwell and Kloskowska. Because of the small number of members present, elections were not held at Toronto, plans being made to organize elections in the near future.

After a short time, the President and one of the Vice-Presidents resigned. A. Kloskowska took charge during this period of inactivity, organizing elections he Id by mail ballots in the first months of 1977 with the assistance of the ISA.

The new Board elected never functioned collectively, and only during the Ninth World Congress, held in Uppsala, was a working Board elected for the period 1978-82:

President Margaret Archer (UK)
Vice-Presidents Olusola Avoseh (Nigeria)
Artur Meier (GDR)
Secretary Asoke Basu (USA)
Members Anna Frangoudaki (Greece)
Ettore Gelpi (France)

This new Board had to start "almost from zero".

There is information available relating to membership in 1975 and 1976, during the period of inactivity. It appears that in 1975 there were 42 members in all: USA (10), Hungary (10), UK (4), Australia (3), Canada (3), FRG (2), Italy (2), Netherlands (2), Finland (1), France (1), Japan (1), New Guinea (1), Spain (1) and Switzerland (1).

The following year 43 applications were reported, coming from: USA (11), Canada (11), Australia (3), FRG (3), UK (3), Nigeria (2), Venezuela (2), Finland (1), Iran (1), Israel (1), Japan (1), Italy (1), Mexico (1), Netherlands (1) and Paraguay (1).

During the period of reorganization after Uppsala, there was an important growth in membership in a few short months.

While in June 1979 a report estimated the number of members at under 100, by the end of the year this number had increased to around 202, coming from 39 countries: USA (50), UK (27), Canada (15), Sweden (13), Netherlands (11), Australia (8), France (8), FRG (7), Italy (6), Japan (4), Poland (4), Chile (3), Greece (3), Hungary (3) Israel (3), India (3), USSR (3), Belgium (2), Bulgaria (2), Denmark (2) Iran (2) Mexico (2), Romania (2), Venezuela (2), Spain (2), Algeria (1), Austria (1), Brazil (1), Colombia (1), Egypt (1), Finland (1), Gabon (1) GDR (1), Lebanon (1), Morocco (1), New Zealand (1), Nigeria (1), Norway (1) and Thailand (1).

Current activities until the Tenth World Congress will be devoted to (1) consolidation of membership and improving representation in various regions, (2) producing high quality publications and ensuring their diffusion, and (3) organizing strong sessions for Mexico.


  • April 10-13, 1972, Turin (Italy). Twenty-five researchers took part and discussed the following themes:
    • Social Structure and Socialization
    • Language and Social Classes
    • Epistemology of Investigation by Questionnaires and of Psychological Experimentation

Outside the collective work sessions on the above-mentioned topics, working groups have been organized on questions of common interest.

Many participants discussed the relations between the school's technical function of skills formation and its function of moral education and social Integration.

Another discussion took place on the theoretical problems raised by the crisis of the structures of teaching institutions and their relation to the changes in the usual behavior of the agents concerned.

The general theme of the meeting was “Facteurs de Changement et les Forces d'Inertie dans le Système d'Education."

  • September 15-18, 1973, Warsaw (Poland). 25-30 participants met and discussed the theme: ''Schools and Modern Means of Communication: Are They Factors of Cultural Reproduction or of Cultural Redistribution?" During this meeting, organized at the initiative of Antonina Kloskowska and sponsored by the Committee of Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the main orientations and themes of the meetings at the Congress in Toronto were mapped out. Specific issues discussed were:
    • Education and Social Structure
    • Cultural Resistance and Cultural Redistribution
    • Mass-media as Vehicles of Cultural Transmission
    • Cultural Mobility and Cultural Hierarchy

During the Eighth World Congress in Toronto, August 1974, the program of sessions was carried out with some changes owing to the absence of certain participants.

The reduced number of papers made it possible to devote more time to discussion: 12 papers were read and discussed; 5 were submitted in writing. The program of Toronto sessions was the following:

  • Session 1: Scientific Revolutions and Power: Social Relationships and Educational Systems (4 papers)
  • Session 2: Political Implications of the Education of the Working Class (5 papers)
  • Session 3: The Role of Education in the Social Integration of Elites (4 papers)

Papers came from: USA (4), India (2), Canada (1), France (1), GDR (1) and USSR (1), plus 3 others of unknown origin.

A working group, chaired by Antonina Kloskowska, and a Round Table, chaired by Guido Martinotti, were also devoted to education problems.

  • August 1978, Uppsala (Sweden), Ninth World Congress. The Program of the Research Committee included six sessions on the following topics:
    • Session 1: Instrumental and Non- Instrumental Aspects of the Development of Culture and Education. Theoretical and Methodological Problems (7 papers)
    • Session 2: School System and Other Socializing Agencies Introducing Culture (8 papers)
    • Session 3: Education and Social Development (12 papers)
    • Session 4: Life-Long Education and Various Lifestyles (5 papers)
    • Session 5: School System, Social Structure and Work (6 papers)
    • Session 6: Educational and Cultural Participation (6 papers)

Papers came from: USA (7), Poland (5), USSR (4), Netherlands (3), Nigeria (3), Sweden (3), Australia (2), Canada (2), Finland/Poland (2), India (2), New Guinea (2), Brazil (1), Bulgaria (1), Chile (1), UK (1) FRG (1), Greece (1), Hungary (1), Italy (1) and Japan (1).

On the occasion of this World Congress, the Research Committee agreed to enlarge the field of their research to reach a variety of educational experiences that are not only school experiences.

  • August 6-9, 1980, Paris, an International Conference took place on "The Social Origins and Operations of Educational Systems." Over 100 sociologists from more than thirty countries attended the twelve Round Tables of the meeting, each Round Table having a keynote paper and an average of about six written contributions. Over ninety papers were contributed in all. The themes of the Round Tables were the following:
    • The Historical Emergence of Educational Systems: Structuration and Restructuration (8 papers)
    • Macroscopic Theories of the Development of Educational Systems (6 papers)
    • Patterns of Governance and Accountability in Educational Systems (6 papers)
    • On the Transition from School to Work: American Policies and Programs (5 papers)
    • School to Work Transition: Policies and Programs in Cross-National Perspective (6 papers)
    • The Current State of Comparative Research in the Sociology of Education (1 keynote paper)
    • The Relationship between Micro- and Macro- Theory in the Sociology of Education (6 papers)
    • The Social Management of Knowledge: Relations Between the Structure of Educational Systems and Their Cultural Contents (Curriculum) (8 papers)
    • Educational Politics (9 papers)
    • Educational Systems with Revolutionary Origins (4 papers) and Educational Systems with Colonial Origins (8 papers)
    • International Organizations and National Educational Policy (7 papers)
    • Social Stratification and the Operation of Educational Systems (9 papers)

The geographical representation of participants registered in advance was as follows:Africa (3), Asia (3), Middle East (4), Latin America (3), Australia (11), Western Europe (19), UK (23), USA-Canada (28), Eastern Europe (3) and USSR (1).

Three collected volumes will be published from these papers.


  • Jean Floud and A. H. Halsey, "Sociology of Education," Current Sociology, VII, 3 (1958).
  • V. Isambert-Jamati and J. G. Maucorps, "La Sociologie de l'Education," Current Sociology, XX, 1 (1972).
  • Antonina Kloskowska and Guido Martinotti (eds.), Education in a Changing Society. (Sage Studies in International Sociology 11, London and Beverly Hills, Sage Publications, 1977. Contains some papers presented at the Eighth World Congress of Sociology.)

The Research Committee has now arranged for the publication of a monograph series on the sociology of education which will be published by the Folklore Institute in India.

Books will be marketed at differential price levels in the Third World and in Europe/North America; they will deal with topics of international interest.

The Editorial Board of the monograph series is as follows: Asoke Basu, editor; Margaret Archer, associate editor; Karuna Ahmad, assistant editor; and William van Groenou, assistant editor.

The current Executive Committee will serve as trustees at any time. The first two monographs should be on sale at the World Congress in Mexico.

Three collected volumes will be published from the papers presented at the Paris Conference.

The first, which will also represent the initial book in the monograph series, will deal with The Origins and Operations of Educational Systems in the Third World (A. Basu, ed.).

The second is entitled Take-off, Growth and Inflation in Educational Systems: The Sociology of Educational Expansion (M. S. Archer, Ed.).

The Third is School to Work Transition Policies and Programs in Cross-National Perspective (Ray C. Rist, Ed.).

Regular Newsletters have been produced since 1980:

  • Newsletter 1, spring 1980, produced in England, 400 copies distributed announcing the Paris Conference.
  • Newsletter 2, summer 1980, produced in California and carrying the provisional program of the Paris Conference.
  • Newsletter 3, spring 1981, produced in Australia and containing the Annual Report and plans for sessions at the Mexico World Congress.