A linkage of social geography with educational sociology: —in Connection with Education and Reproduction of both Social Stratum and Regional Disparities—

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At present, the theoretical framework and viewpoint of social geographical analyses of education are at the stage of formation, trial and error. It is important at this stage to examine the themes and results of geography and its related disciplines on education. The purpose of this paper is to identify distinctive themes of social geographical analyses of education and to examine their analytical methods, with due consideration for educational sociology, one of the nearest disciplines to social geographical analyses of education. In the field of educational sociology in Japan since the 1980's, great interest has been aroused in the structural principles of education and society as social problems. Also it has been seen as important to question the stratified society of Japan in connection with unequal chances to receive an education. So the problem of to what extent education contributes to the reproduction of an unequaly stratified social system has been dealt from the viewpoint of cultural reproduction theory. In this way, educational sociology examined facets like educational careers, stratified culture, life course and gender. It adopts four approaches: historical, quantitative, system-theoretical and hermeneutic. These approaches have been or can be developed also in geography. In contrast to educational sociology, geographical analyses of education have shown two research directions. One examines regional disparities in education and their effects on the inhabitants of that region. The other considers locational problems of educational institutions from an administrative viewpoint. In these two streams, the former is more inclined to social geographical analysis than the latter. In this case social geography encounters the problem that spatial differences in both standards of education and ability are formed by individuals or society, which is an assembly of individuals, neither by the region itself nor space. But society is inseparable from region and space. So spatially reproductive processes of regional disparities are at work with Bourdieu's cultural reproductive processes. And this furnishes an important, noticeable theme in social geographical analyses of education. To examine those processes, we are able to use approaches which have been adopted by educational sociology. Results from time-geography, which parallels the viewpoint of life course in educational sociology, and core-periphery theory will provide important suggestions for emphasizing spatial aspects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-202
Number of pages16
JournalJapanese Journal of Human Geography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • cultural reproduction
  • education
  • educational sociology
  • regional disparities
  • social geography
  • social problem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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