Sociology of Power, Elites and Elite Education

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 4PE286

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Sociology of Education A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 6 October 2022
Responsible department
Department of Education

General provisions

The course is part of the Master's Programme in Sociology of Education and the Master's Programme in Educational Sciences with a Specialisation in Sociology of Education. It can also be given as an independent course.

Entry requirements

A Bachelor's degree including at least 90 credits from a discipline pertaining to the social sciences or the humanities.

Learning outcomes

After completion of the course students are expected to be able to

  • describe how power, elites and elite education are conceptualised in various traditions with relevance to sociology of education
  • critically evaluate the scientific usefulness of conceptual tools and research methods for studying power, elites and elite education
  • analyse the relation between power, elites and elite education historically and in particular countries
  • analyse the impact of globalisation on power, elites and elite education
  • critically examine how power is exercised, mediated and built up in particular social settings


The course focuses on the relationship between power, elites and elite education. Using a historical and comparative perspective it examines the relation between elites and the structure of the field of power in various countries. It further explores the role of educational institutions in the selection to and reproduction of elites and the field of power. The course also addresses theoretical and methodological issues related to the study of power, elites and elite education, such as how they are affected by globalisation or how power is exercised, mediated and built up in particular social settings such as colonialism.


The course consists of a series of lectures and seminars.


The assessment is based on written assignments as well as on active participation during seminars.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.