The SSA Sociology of Education Research Network advocates the sociological analysis of the cultural, socio-structural, historical, institutional/organisational, political and economic context of educational processes and states on individual, institutional and societal levels in Switzerland and beyond. Thereby, education (éducation, Bildung) can be regarded both as the explanans or the explanandum of social relations, facts and problems.
On a macro, societal level the interest lies in the contribution of education to society (stability, inequality), on the dynamic and linkage between different social systems (above all between education, family and labour market/economy), on the social value of education (e.g. status-attainment/allocation), on the role of the state to provide education and on the social change. On a meso level the functioning and change of educational organisations as well as the educational profession are scrutinised (e.g., curricula, recruiting and channelling, cultures, professionalisation). On a micro level social interactions between teachers, learners, parents and headmasters, their decision-making and the contribution of education for strengthening individual autonomy are looked at.
The field of education spans a broad variety of educational processes and states in informal settings (family, peer group, leisure, workplace), formal settings (preschool, primary school, lower and upper – both general and vocational – secondary education, tertiary education, tertiary level professional education and training, further education and adult education), and non-formal, extracurricular settings (e.g. youth work, private teaching, commercial education offers).
The analysis of educational processes includes individual learning processes and pathways embedded in familial, regional, national or international opportunity structures. At an institutional level, educational processes also include the making of curriculums and the implementation of educational policies and reforms on local, regional, national and transnational levels. Educational actors and decision makers can be individual, corporate or institutional/organisational (individuals, groups, organisations, institutions, states).
As a state, education can be perceived in different embodied, institutionalised and symbolic forms of intended or unintended nature (such as cultural capital, knowledge, know-how, skills, competence, qualification, certificates, educational levels etc.).
The Sociology of Education Research Network welcomes comprehensive analysis of educational processes and states in the context of social relations and inequality (by gender, ethnicity, class, age etc.), taking into account intersectionalities, social and institutional change and local or international variability. It relates the analysis of educational processes to the logics of different contexts and discourses (educational markets, achievement-oriented education, educational communities, efficient educational organisations, civil society etc.). Processes and outcomes of the education system may also be related to the access to resources, power and status in other systems such as the economic system (especially the labour market) or the civil society.