5. Contexts


For a fabulously written and pertinent piece of research for anyone interested in social inequality and stories of young people succeeding against the odds:

Siraj, I. and Mayo, A. (2014) Social Class and Educational Inequality The impact of Parents and Schools, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

For texts which will deepen your understanding of sociological perspectives see:

Berger, P. L. (1963) Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective, New York: Doubleday.

Mills, C. W. (1959) The Sociological Imagination, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

For more equally stimulating, texts, try:

Giddens, A. (2001) Sociology (4th edition.), Oxford: Polity Press.

Bauman, Z. (1990) Thinking Sociologically, Oxford: Blackwell.

We also recommend the introductory chapter of the following book, edited by Stephen Ball, which outlines some of the 'turning points' in debates about the sociology of education:

Ball, S. (Ed.) (2004) The Routledge Falmer Reader in Sociology of Education, London: Routledge Falmer.

A more advanced way of following up this theoretical perspective is to look for texts concerning the approach known as ‘symbolic interactionism’. This is based on the work of George Herbert Mead who draws attention to processes of social interaction as the foundation of a person’s development of a ‘self’. Although Mead’s book, was written in 1934 it is still accessible and has now become a classic:

Mead, G. H., (1934) Mind, Self and Society, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Pollard, A. (1985) The Social World of the Primary School, London: Cassell.

Sharp, R. and Green, A. (1975) Education and Social Control, London: Routledge and Kegan, Paul.

Pollard, A. (1996) The Social World of Children’s Learning: Case Studies of Pupils from Four to Seven. London: Cassell.

Filer, A. and Pollard, A. (1999) The Social World of Pupil Career: Strategic Biographies Through Primary School, London: Cassell.

Whilst the following book has a specific focus on the intersection between gender and class it is also an excellent illustration of the interdependence between the individual and their social context:

Walkerdine, V., Lucey, H., and Melody, J. (2001) Growing Up Girl: Psychosocial Explorations of Gender and Class, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

For a readable analysis of modern British society, which illustrates aspects of this framework, see:

Halsey, A. H. (1986) Change in British Society, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bentley, T. (1998) Learning Beyond the Classroom, London: Routledge.

The following books explore the complex and changing relationships between the state and the processes and practices of education. Coffey emphasises the importance of educational experiences for the production of collective and individual biographies, while Smyth et al examine teachers’ work within the global economy.

Coffey, A. (2001) Education and Social Change, Buckingham: Open University Press.

Smyth, J., Dow, A., Hattam, R., Reid, A. and Shacklock, G. (2000) Teachers’ Work in a Globalizing Economy, London: Falmer.

For books focusing more specifically on culture of ECEC settings, try:

Anning, A., Cullen, J., Fleer, M. (Eds) (2004) Early Childhood Education – Society and Culture, London: Sage.

Robert-Holmes, G. and Brownhill, S. (2011) Where are the men? A critical discussion of male absence in the early years, In: Miller, L. and Cable, C. (Eds.) Professionalization, Leadership and Management in the Early Years, London: Sage.

Moss, P. (2014) Transformative Change and Real Utopias in Early Childhood Education, London: Routledge.

Osgood, J. (2010) Contested constructions of professionalism within the nursery, In: Miller L. and Cable C. (Eds.) Professional Issues, Leadership and Management in the Early Years. Critical Issues in Early Years Series, pp.107-118, London: Sage Publications.

Diagrams and figures