Towards a sociology of teaching and learning: Politicising pedagogic praxis?

Andrea Abbas, Monica McLean

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Giving this paper has been an opportunity for us to bring together ideas we have been thinking about together for some years now. Our preoccupations have grown both out of our educational development work in the university sector and out of our day-to-day experiences as practising academics who have had non-traditional career trajectories including plenty of short contract work. Generally we focus on three broad areas: policies and discursive practices as they impact on learning and teaching; the professional identity of academics and academics in the making; and, the role of the university. We have attempted to make sense of these areas by examining them through social theories. We have no strong allegiances but we are interested in examining the possibilities for alternative futures in opposition to official ‘social pathways’ (Cooper, 2001).

Social justice motivates us and in terms of sociology, we are drawn to Bourdieu’s (1990) view that: ‘Through the sociologist […] the society […] reflects upon itself; and all social agents may […] know a little better what they are, what they do.’ (p.186). We think that sociological insights can illuminate the way that the emotional/embodied experiences of teaching, learning and researching within the H.E. context might be shaped by –to quote Bourdieu again- 'instruments of manipulation and legitimation' (p.188).


ConferenceJoint ESRC and ESCalate research seminar: towards a sociology of higher education - disabled students in higher education; the pedagogic practices of teachers in HE, University of Bristol, 22 November 2002.
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom
Internet address

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Education


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