Accessibility statement

Education, Power and Society - EDU00063I

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Constantino Dumangane Jr
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

The purpose of this module is to gain a deeper theoretical understanding of the ways that power influences education and society. It will explore different political and critical theories in order to frame how education can be analysed.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

The key aims of the module are:

  • Understanding how economic, political and cultural forces impact on education and society

  • Examining political and critical theories and how they pertain to education

  • Analysing case studies which illustrate the connection between theory and practice

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate empirically informed understanding of contemporary debates on education, power and society

  2. Have in-depth knowledge of specific areas and issues related to power, knowledge, and social change in education.

  3. Critically engage with key theories, concepts, and arguments discussed in the module and relate them to real world issues.

  4. Engage in critical thinking, reflection and analysis of the political, cultural and social forces that impact on education.

Academic and graduate skills

  1. Develop effective communications skills (written and verbal), provide clear and concise analysis of concepts, debates and issues discussed in the course.

Module content

  • The following is indicative of the different topics that will be covered

“…the systems involved in education, including the education system itself, the political system, the economic system, and the social system, are not particularly known for being able to adapt or change quickly. In fact, these systems are resistant to change. All of these systems are deeply intertwined and interdependent that any attempt to change in one will require massive changes in all of the others.”– Jeff Bloom

The module will cover a range of areas, including:

  • Introductory unit - Economic, political and cultural forces on education and society

  • The political motive of education: The right to education

  • Education as a tool of oppression: (In) equality

  • Understanding the ‘canon’ and the curriculum

  • Education as a means of liberation: Justice

  • Education as a practice of freedom: Agency

  • Critically Relevant Teaching - What should this look like?

  • Are the university educated the new elite? ‘Knowing capitalism’ and meritocracy

  • Education and Social Change


Task Length % of module mark
Essay : Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay : Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Individual written feedback reports, with follow-up tutor meeting, if necessary. The feedback is returned to students in line with university policy. Please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading list - subject to revision:

Baker, D. (2015) The Schooled Society: The Educational Transformation of Global Culture. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Bergstrom, A. M., Flynn, M., & Craig, C. (2018). Deconstructing media in the college classroom: A longitudinal critical media literacy intervention. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 10(3), 113-131.

Darder, A. (1991). Culture and power in the classroom: A critical foundation for bicultural education. Greenwood Publishing Group.

Darder, A., Baltodano, M., & Torres, R. D. (Eds.). (2003). The critical pedagogy reader (p. 1). New York: RoutledgeFalmer.

Freire, P. (2021). Pedagogy of hope: Reliving pedagogy of the oppressed. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Giroux, H. (2020). Critical pedagogy (pp. 1-16). Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden.

Grenfell, M., & James, D. (2003). Bourdieu and education: Acts of practical theory. Routledge.

Hassan, N., & Boronski, T. (2020). Sociology of Education. Sociology of Education, 1-368.

hooks, b. (2014). Teaching to transgress. Routledge.

Jones, K. (2016). Education in Britain: 1944 to the present. John Wiley & Sons.

Kelly, M. G. (2014). The mythology of schooling: the historiography of American and European education in comparative perspective. Paedagogica Historica, 50(6), 756-773.

McLaren, P. (2002). Critical pedagogy: A look at the major concepts. Routledge/Falmer Press.

Morris, A. (2017). The scholar denied: WEB Du Bois and the birth of modern sociology. University of California Press.

Naidoo, R. (2004). Fields and institutional strategy: Bourdieu on the relationship between higher education, inequality and society. British journal of sociology of education, 25(4), 457-471.

Smith, R., & Duckworth, V. (2022). Transformative Teaching and Learning in Further Education: Pedagogies of Hope and Social Justice. Policy Press.

van Noord et al (2023) Classified out of society? How educational classification induces political alienation through feelings of misrecognition. British Journal of Sociology. DOI: 10.1111/1468-4446.13040

Whitty, G and Furlong, J (2017) Knowledge and the Study of Education: An International Comparison, Oxford: Oxford Studies in Comparative Education, Symposium

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.