Education is closely related to the process of socialization, although it most often takes place more formally in schools. One’s level of education is associated with employment and lifetime earnings. Inequality in schools is often the result of tracking, which leads to a cumulative advantage for students placed in higher tracks. Students with more advantaged family backgrounds are more likely to graduate from high school and to enroll in and graduate from college. Countries across the globe vary greatly in their ability to educate students and educate them well. Students in the United States fall near the bottom in PISA rankings on math, reading, and science. Religion is also involved in the process of socialization, teaching individuals particular worldviews. The three components of religion are beliefs, rituals, and experiences. Sociologists have identified different types of religious institutions: sects, churches, cults, and denominations. The spread of religion is not new, but it has accelerated with increased globalization due to transnational migration and the spread of religious organizations and movements through independent missions.


1. Using your sociological imagination, why is the transmission of cultural norms and values a complex process in diverse societies such as the United States? How can schools cope with this problem in the future?

2. What did Emile Durkheim contribute to our knowledge about religion? How did his views on religion compare with his ideas about education?