editing disabled

Welcome to Module 3 Education & Inequality I!

Note to the Class:

Last week's Discussion posts were excellent! I truly enjoyed reading your reflections -- as good indicators of the process of research at work. Rather than responding to each of you individually, I'd like to make a few comments that pertain to most.

First, keep going with the gathering of reference resources as started. As many of you are already doing, stay mindful of publication date: if you are making a point that the situation or setting you are studying is a consequence of change or shifts in society, be sure the resource does not pertain to another area. If it offers general ideas or theoretical support, remember Lemert: which arguments are timeless and which are time-bound?

Second, this module is intentionally brief (compared to the first two) to allow you more time to gather resources, consult with others, etc. in developing an action research proposal. Use this week to make hard choices in narrowing your topics/focus for this class' part in your research.

Monica Griffin


  • To further develop students' understanding of social construction theory;

  • To develop students' awareness of the social construction of reality, as applied analytically to the social settings they aim to study;

  • To offer students an opportunity to reflect on the use of a critical, scholarly lens in evaluating scholarship that is built on theory, while also reliant on methodologies to reveal empirical and cultural realities;

Social Construction Theory Revisited

This 10-minute short lecture video offers a simple overview of how social construction perspectives are applied. Sociologically, the analysis becomes more complicated as we consider the degree to which taken-for-granted concepts (such as race, class, gender, or "a quality education") are socially constructed as empirical realities. (My apologies for the image below which can be taken offensively; it serves an educational purpose and will change once the video starts.)

Now, consider this (shorter, 3-minute clip) comparing the experiences of students in two different schools in two different regions of the eastern U.S.

Pay particular attention to the symbols, settings, or interactions that construct the experience of education described by the students (beyond what they are saying). Watch it a couple times if you find it helpful.

RESPOND TO DISCUSSION QUESTION: Socially Construction Theory Revisited

Sociologists argue, despite the discipline's rigorous focus on making empirical observations, that even the social categories we use to analyze educational experiences are socially constructed. The lecture on Social Construction illustrated briefly how gender is/was constructed by reference and guidance on "appropriate colors" for clothing for boys and girls. We can imagine other examples in social life, where meanings about what is appropriate or not appropriate, expected or not expected, etc. socially constructs gender (e.g. the military draft, jobs, etc.). Consider the sociological implication of socially constructed identities or categories on educational research.



BONUS DISCUSSION: Do categories intersect in meaningful ways? How? With what social outcomes?

Have a Great Weekend!