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Definition of Education

(noun) An institution through which children are taught basic academic knowledge, life skills, and norms.

Education Pronunciation

Usage Notes

  • Plural: educations
  • An (noun) educationalist or (noun) educationist (verb) educates students.

Related Quotations

  • “According to conflict theorists, educational level can be a tool for discrimination by using the mechanism of credentialism. . . . [t]his device can be used by potential employers to discriminate against minorities, working-class people, or women—that is, those who are often less educated and least likely to be credentialed because discriminatory practices within the education system limited their opportunities for educational achievement” (Andersen and Taylor 2011:348).
  • “Let’s begin with two apparently contradictory social facts. First, there are more highly educated people than ever before and their learning efforts continue to grow rapidly. Secondly, there is mass unemployment and underemployment of capable people. The growing gap between the unprecedented extent of collective knowledge of the people and the diminishing number of meaningful, sustaining jobs has become the major social problem of our time. This is the distinguishing character of the current education-jobs gap” (Livingstone 1998:1).
  • “The educational system helps integrate youth into the economic system, we believe, through a structural correspondence between its social relations and those of production. The structure of social relations in education not only inures the student to the discipline of the workplace, but develops the types of personal demeanour, modes of self-presentation, self-image, and social-class identification which are the crucial ingredients of job adequacy. Specifically, the social relationships of education – the relationships between administrators and teachers, teachers and students, students and students, and students and their work – replicate the hierarchical division of labour” (Bowles and Gintis 1976:131).
  • “The major impetus for the creation of national education systems lay in the need to provide the state with trained administrators, engineers and military personnel; to spread dominant national cultures and inculcate popular ideologies of nationhood; and so to forge the political and cultural unity of burgeoning nation states and cement the ideological hegemony of their dominant classes” (Green 1990:309).
  • “[W]hat schools do ideologically, culturally, and economically is very complicated and cannot be fully understood by the application of any simple formula. There are very strong connections between the formal and informal knowledge within the school and the larger society with all its inequalities. But since the pressures and demands of dominant groups are highly mediated by the internal histories of educational institutions and by the needs and ideologies of people who actually work in them, the aims and results will often be contradictory as well” (Apple 1990:x–xi).

Additional Information

Related Terms


Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Apple, Michael W. 1990. Ideology and Curriculum. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.

Note: Read for free at the Open Library.

Bowles, Samuel, and Herbert Gintis. [2011] 1976. Schooling in Capitalist America. London: Routledge & Paul Kegan.

Green, Andy. 1990. Education and State Formation: The Rise of Education Systems in England, France and the USA. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Livingstone, D. W. 1998. The Education-Jobs Gap: Underemployment Or Economic Democracy? Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

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Cite the Definition of Education

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “education.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved August 24, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/education/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

education. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/education/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “education.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed August 24, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/education/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“education.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 24 Aug. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/education/>.