Education, Inequality, and Politics

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Although education is one of the major significant dimensions of power and politics in society it is overlooked in sociology. Education does not only influence power and politics in society but also improves the view of major aspects of society. (McKenzie, 2001).

Education is very essential in society and it has played a great in changing society, there are different changes influenced by education in society. Education has played a great role in society and is based on different perspectives of education in society. There are new sociologies that have great impacts within sociology and sociology of education, with minimal impact found within comparative education. These sociologies include Marxism, neo-Marxism, and critical theory that have penetrated comparative education.

According to many of the articles, education has been associated with the reproduction of social inequality in society. Although education has many positive impacts on society and real democracy that is based on the abilities and competencies of an educated society it is also associated with the reproduction of social inequality in the society. (Moore, 2004).

Education results in social deviance in the society whereby educated people live in a class of their own and they see the other less educated people in the society as lesser people. This has resulted in two categories of people in the society whereby there are the educated people and the one for less educated people. These categories form some of the sociologies of education, these two categories of people in the society live different lives. The category for educated people has more privileges as compared to the category of less-educated people. (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977).

Education has been referred to as a “means of motivating individuals to behave in ways appropriate to maintain the society in a state of equilibrium.” Though this is true about education in most cases, it is not practiced because in society there is no point of equilibrium that is brought about by education. If anything, education has divided the society into two such that there are two classes of people in the society hence senses of inequality. (Bernstein, 1977).

Education has brought about social change, consensus, and integration in society. In the first place, education has brought about social changes whereby the issues of gender and day-to-day living are addressed. Before the introduction of education issues of social issues was very sensitive, there was no respect for gender especially men never respected women and they were seen as reproduction objectives. Education has played a great role in changing some of the outdated believes as the ones associated with social life and gender issues. (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977)

Education has taught people in the society to respect women and at the same time women have been empowered and they can perform what men can perform and even better. Education has been a tool for power since it has empowered women in society. Currently, educated women play great roles, for instance, they work in big officers and carry out roles in society as men do because education has empowered them to do so. This shows that education changes powers as well as politics in society, during ancient time’s physical power, was used to handle issues and people with physical power were given major roles in society but things have changed with the introduction of education. Physical power is no longer valued instead, the level of education and intelligence is what is highly valued in society. People with high levels of education and intelligence possess more power than the ones who have less education.

Education by itself is power and the things that have happened in society can evidence this. Because of education society has changed drastically from the ancient believes to a technological society whereby things are being done very fast by use machines rather than manually as it was in ancient times. These kinds of changes in society have brought about changes in the lifestyle of many people. Things taking place in society because education provides evidence that education by itself is power. Since education is power, it is clear that education has influenced the direction of politics in society. (Bernstein, 1977).

Through education, the young people in the society and later generations are in a position of socializing with the older generations and learning norms, values, and different relations in the society. This gives the young people a more clear understanding of society and the different needs and demands of the economy in the society. Some of these issues form major debates in our society. Education enables people to understand what is going on in society hence it becomes easier for an informed person to contribute to these debates. This shows that education gives people power and they are listened to in the society and their decisions to be respected.

Education provides the engine room for knowledge and cultural advancement in society. This is because it is through education that people get informed of different things happening in society and the knowledge gained in education is used to make viable decisions in different situations facing the society. The more one gets information on sensitive issues in the society and the level of education he or she has the more he or she has the power to influence other people in the society hence gaining political power.

Education shapes the lives of people in society, this is because most people spend more years in education than in the outside world. The more one is engaged in education the more one gains knowledge on different issues, the knowledge gained is what shapes a person’s mind, life, and the general society. Most of the people who aspire to become great politicians in society study programs related to these areas to have a strong background understanding of different political issues in society. (Barcan, 1993).

Education is one of the greatest figures of classical sociology, it has put in place the moral values that are the foundation of social order in society. Through education society has been able to perpetuate itself, this is because it has helped to define different areas of responsibility hence keeping the society together and focused in one direction. Education has also a complex role in society since it has been an evolutionist both philosophically and politically. This is because it is through education that different philosophical issues in society have been identified and defined clearly. In addition, political issues have been highly defined in educational programs and great revolutions politically have been learned.

Educational change is not only an important reflection of the underlying structural and cultural change but also an active agent in the process of structural and cultural change. This shows that education has power since it has changed the structural and cultural perspectives in society. For instance, how society was organized has changed and informal structures have been put in place.

Education, power, and politics are all related in one way or another but education is the core of both. Power and politics are issues related to sociology in society while education though not viewed as a sociological factor has great impacts on the two. Education gives people power in society politically and in normal daily life and it is this power that brings social inequality since the people with higher education are better placed in the society and they enjoy more opportunities as compared to the ones with low education. (Halsey et al,1997).

Education also results in the development of social classes in society, and education levels are associated with social status. Those people who belong to a higher social status have higher chances of accessing better education than the ones in the lower classes. This is because educated people have more power of doing things than less educated ones, hence this in another perspective is viewed as social inequality in the society. (McKenzie, 2001).

In conclusion, education has both positive as well as negative contributions to society. Although is seen as a contributor to more social inequalities in society it has played a great role in the evolution of power and politics in society and there are many more positive aspects associated with it other than the inequalities. Hence, the answer is that education can and plays a great role in power and politics in society.


Barcan, A. 1993, “Sociological Theory and Educational Reality: Education and society in Australia since 1949,” Sydney: UNSW Press.

Bernstein, B. 1977, “Education cannot compensate for society, in Cosin,” B.R. et al (eds) School and Society: A sociological reader London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Bourdieu, P. & Passeron, J-C., 1977, “Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture,” London: Sage (‘Book II’ chapters).

Halsey, A.H. Lauder, H. Brown, P. & Wells, A.S. (eds) 1997, “Education, Culture, Economy, Society,” Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McKenzie, J. 2001, “Changing Education: Sociology of education since 1944”, Harlow: Prentice Hall.

Moore, R. 2004, “Education and Society: Issues and explanations in the sociology of education,” Cambridge: Polity, pp. 94-118.

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