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“New concepts” in the sociology of education: the origin and perstionalization

Ekaterina S. Popova, Candidate of Sociology leading researcher, , PhD in Sociology,, Leading Researcher, Institute of Sociology FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia
mailto: espopova@isras.ru
“New concepts” in the sociology of education: the origin and perstionalization.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2012. Vol. 3. No. 2. P. 202-215

This Article is downloaded: 1012 times
Topic: Sociology of education: theoretical concepts

For citation:
E. S. Popova. “New concepts” in the sociology of education: the origin and perstionalization. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2012. Vol. 3. No. 2. P. 202-215


In the focus of the article are aspects of the emergence and operationalization of “new concepts” of science, in particular, in the description language of the sociology of education. The concept is a global unit of thinking, a “clot of meaning”, which includes both personal, individual meanings, and socio-cultural components. In order to “free” the concept from personal senses, the process of operationalization is necessary. This process can be designated as the process of connecting the cognitive structures of the researcher with the research reality. Based on the analysis of scientific literature on conceptualization and operationalization, a model is proposed for studying the “new concepts” of sociology, in which a sociological explanation will be considered valid if it can be shown that it corresponds to the values used by the individuals in the practice of constructing social realities. In addition, operationalization of the concept should be logical, not implying “obscuring” the meaning of the concept or substituting its essence, and operational definitions should meet the general methodological requirements of relevance, validity, stability, accuracy, balance and compactness. The paper analyzes the interrelationship between social changes and development tendencies of the society with the language of the description of the research object through the prism of the emergence and operationalization of “new concepts”, including the concept of the “market of educational services” and the concept of “educational needs”. Analysis of the concepts shows that it does not matter whether the concept is borrowed in a scientific language from the language of everyday life or from the language of one scientific discipline to another. If the “new concept” receives a high level of operationalization with observance of all developed general requirements, it will be used in the practice of carrying out sociological research. However, often the process of operationalization is beyond the scope of the description of research. Scientists do not always pay much attention to the description of the procedure for developing operational definitions. The process of working out operational definitions should become open not only in specialized manuals on the methods and methodology of sociological research for students and postgraduate students, but also be a necessary point in the practice of describing sociological research.


sociology of education, "new concepts", sociological research, conceptualization, operationalization, education


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