Definition, Scope and Functions of Sociology of education to the Society

Definition, Scope and Functions of Sociology of education to the Society

Definition and Scope of Sociology

Sociology as 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 human groups. It delves primarily into the influence of social relationships on people’s attitudes and behaviours and on how societies 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 the organization and control of man’s behaviours and attitudes within the society. As a field of study, sociology has an extremely broad scope because the society comprises of several sub systems with inherent fragmentations of component parts in each of them for sociological considerations.

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

The scientific assessment of the social facts within the society serves as an avenue to curb discomfort and instability in the society amongst the people. Hence, sociology as a field assists the members of any society to solve attitudinal, character, behavioural and social problems to actualize a healthy growth and development of such society.

Sociologists therefore 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. It is on the basis of this that the basic knowledge of sociology is compulsory for scholars in all field of endeavour for better understanding of the society which they live.

Functions of Sociology to the Society

Sociology performs 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 relationships within the society which produce such social institutions and associations through which the behaviour of individuals are organized and controlled. It is the concern of sociology to identify why certain undesirable behaviours manifested in human beings and how such behaviour could be checked and reformed. For instance, within the society there are social deviants who probably get initiated or apprehended into such unacceptable behaviours due to ignorance and other varied reasons beyond the victims’ explanation. It is within the interest of sociology to probe into the fundamental causes of unacceptable behaviours through critical analysis of the matter 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 arises to analyze such behaviour for reconstruction and reformation. For example, there was a case of a “medical student” who always excels in all courses but he drinks alcohol and sleeps under the steer-case of his hostel. The University authority on discovery his problem recommended some courses for him in sociology in other to control his behaviour which logically reformed 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 are derived 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 to cling into power and authority due to the benefits accruable from it. A dictum goes thus “nobody tastes honey and spit it away” Authority and powers are as sweet as honey. That explains why human beings pursue them daringly to enjoy the values attached to them.

3. Sociology also attempts to establish the links between the different sub-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 or the 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 inter-relatedness among all the systems in the society and that is why there should be healthy functionality 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 is dynamic and transitory in nature. In sociology, individuals become aware that the society is not static which calls for dynamism in thoughts and actions amongst the people in order to be fully integrated from time to time. For instance, there is computer revolution globally at present. Every individual within the global society is expected to be computer literate in order to function effectively 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 diversification of cultural background and upbringing. The environment within which an individual is born and bred has significant influence in the values, beliefs, traits and ideas which the person internalizes, conceptualizes, demonstrates, manifests and exhibits. With the understanding of sociology an individual is blessed with rebuff view about other people’s background.This will assist in tolerating and accommodating others with differences in cultural background 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 meaningful existence and purposeful survival. Sociology sets it upon itself to identify various human needs in the society and explains how those needs are met and satisfied. Sociology teaches people to only aspire to meet and satisfy those necessities of life that will assist in living decent and meaningful life. It explains the danger in daring, aggressive and unwholesome approach to satisfy one’s needs. For instance, an individual who is involved in armed robbery, fraud, stealing and other illegalities to satisfy his needs is regarded as an unacceptable member of the society. Therefore, it is unethical and immoral.

Meaning of Education

Education can 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 a society where its aims and methods depend on the 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. Education in the specific term is a means of making individuals understand their society and its structures. This will assist such individuals to open up for them a way of creating meaning out of their environment and relationships with other individuals in the realm of language acquisition and thought to classify and provide meaning to things, ideas and events.

A dictum goes 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 who have the ability to analyze and organize ideas to be able to contribute meaningfully towards the development of the society in which they live.

Education in any society is to help transmit to the young the culture of that society. In performing this noble function, the parents, the teachers and other members of the society contribute. It invariably means that every member of the society has the statutory function to transmit knowledge for the survival of individuals. The home transmit informal education, the school delivers formal education while the open society transmit non-formal education. It is unavoidably possible to live in any society without one form of education or the other. Hence, education is a veritable tool for human growth and development.


Sociology as a discipline is the scientific study of man in the society. The society is not in vacuum, it comprises of sub-systems which man interact with as a prime purposeful survival. There are several functions which sociology stands to perform in the society. It stands as a link between the different subsystems in the society; it analyses and clarifies the relationships within the society, it also intimates man in the society with the trend of the changes occurring within the sub-systems and so on. Education is the training of an individual in line with his culture and innovations within it to become an acceptable member of the society with good conduct, character and behaviour for positive contribution to the growth and development of such society.

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