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The Structure of Schooling

The Structure of Schooling
Readings in the Sociology of Education

Third Edition
Edited by:
  • Richard Arum - University of California, Irvine, New York University, USA
  • Irenee R. Beattie - University of California, Merced, USA
  • Karly Ford - Pennsylvania State University, USA, New York University, Steinhardt School of Education

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December 2014 | 800 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
This comprehensive reader in the sociology of education examines important topics and exposes students to examples of sociological research on schools. Drawing from classic and contemporary scholarship, the editors have chosen readings that examine current issues and reflect diverse theoretical approaches to studying the effects of schooling on individuals and society.
I. Theoretical and Historical Perspectives
A. Status Attainment and Social Mobility

Reading 1: The “Rationalization” of Education and Training by Max Weber

Reading 2: Social and Cultural Mobility by Pitirim Sorokin

Reading 3: Sponsored and Contest Mobility and the School System by Ralph H. Turner

Reading 4: Status Attainment Processes by Archibald O. Haller and Alejandro Portes

B. Human Capital, Cultural Capital, and Social Capital

Reading 5: Human Capital by Gary S. Becker

Reading 6: Cultural Capital: Allusions, Gaps, and Glissandos in Recent Theoretical Developments by Michele Lamont and Annette Lareau

Reading 7: Schools, Families, and Communities by James Coleman and Thomas Hoffer

C. Changing Theories of Education Systems

Reading 8: The First Element of Morality: The Spirit of Discipline by Emile Durkheim

Reading 9: The School and the Community by Willard Waller

Reading 10: Functional and Conflict Theories of Educational Stratification by Randall Collins

Reading 11: The Long Shadow of Work by Samuel Bowles, Herbert Gintis and Meyers

II. Stratification Within and Between Schools
A. Resource Inequality and Racial Segregation

Reading 12: Privilege by Shamus Khan

Reading 13: Equality of Educational Opportunity: The Coleman Report by James Coleman, Ernest Campbell, Carol Hobson, James McPartland, Alexander Mood, Frederic Weinfeld, and Robert York

Reading 14: The Effects of High Schools on Their Students by Christopher S. Jencks and Marsha D. Brown

Reading 15: E Pluribus...Separation by Gary Orfield, John Kucsera and Genevieve Siegel-Hawley

Reading 16: The Nature of Schooling by Doris R. Entwisle, Karl L. Alexander, and Linda Olson

Reading 17:Desegregation Without Integration: Tracking, Black Students, and Acting White After Brown by Karolyn Tyson

Reading 18: The Distribution of Knowledge by Jeannie Oakes

III. Class, Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality
A. Class

Reading 19: Persisting Barriers: Changes in Educational Opportunities in Thirteen Countries by Hans-Peter Blossfeld and Yossi Shavit

Reading 20: The Widening Income Achievement Gap by Sean Reardon

Reading 21: More Inclusion Than Diversion: Expansion, Differentiation, and Market Structure in Higher Education by Richard Arum, Adam Gamoran and Yossi Shavit

Reading 22: Learning to Labor by Paul Willis

Reading 23: Invisible Inequality: Social Class and Childrearing in Black Families and White Families by Annette Lareau

Reading 24: Exceptions to the Rule: Upwardly Mobile White and Mexican American High School Girls by Julie Bettie

B. Race and Ethnicity

Reading 25: Black Students’ School Success: Coping With the “Burden of ‘Acting White’” by Signithia Fordham and John U. Ogbu

Reading 26: It’s Not “a Black Thing”: Understanding the Burden of Acting White and Other Dilemmas of High Achievement by Karolyn Tyson, Domini R. Castellino, and William Darity, Jr.

Reading 27: Straddling Boundaries: Identity, Culture, and School by Prudence L. Carter

Reading 28: The Young and the Digital or Digital Divide: Navigating the Digital Edge by Craig Watkins

Reading 29: Race in the Schoolyard: Negotiating the Color Line in Classrooms and Communities by Amanda Lewis

Reading 30: Shades of White: White Kids and Racial Identity in High Schools by Pamela Perry

Reading 31: The New Second Generation: Segmented Assimilation and Its Variants by Alejandro Portes and Min Zhou

C. Gender and Sexuality

Reading 32: Boys and Girls Together...But Mostly Apart by Barrie Thorne

Reading 33: Teaching and “Women’s Work”: A Comparative and Historical Analysis by Michael Apple

Reading 34: Rewriting Race and Gender High School Lessons: Second-Generation Dominicans in New York City by Nancy Lopez

Reading 35: Gender, Race, and Justifications for Group Exclusion: Urban Black Students Bussed to Affluent Suburban Schools" by Ispa-Landa

Reading 36: Notes on a Sociology of Bullying: Young Men’s Homophobia as Gender Socialization by C. J. Pascoe

Reading 37: Bullying and Masculinity by Kimmel and Mahler

IV. Student Behavior and Adolescent Subcultures
Reading 38: The Adolescent Culture by James Coleman

Reading 39: Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Findings from the Digital Youth Project by Mimi Ito

Reading 40: Resistance as a Social Drama: A Study of Change-Oriented Encounters by Daniel A. McFarland

Reading 41: The (Mis)Education of Karen and Monica by Armstrong and Hamilton

Reading 42: College Life Through the Eyes of Students by Mary Grigsby

V. The Organizational Environment
A. The Cultural and Institutional Environment

Reading 43: Do Employers Really Need More Educated Youth? by James E. Rosenbaum and Amy Binder

Reading 44: The Effects of Education as an Institution by John W. Meyer

Reading 45: Community Colleges and the American Social Order by Stephen Brint and Jerome Karabel

Reading 46: Judging School Discipline: A Crisis of Moral Authority by Richard Arum

Reading 47: Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites by Mitchell Stevens

Reading 48: Learning to Be Illegal: Undocumented Youth and Shifting Legal Contexts by Alberto Gonzales

B. Education Policy and School Reform

Reading 49: English-Only Triumphs, But the Costs Are High by Alejandro Portes

Reading 50: School Choice or School’s choice? by Jennifer Jennings

Reading 51: Becoming Right by Amy Binder

Reading 52: The State of Undergraduate Learning by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa

Reading 53: Education Research That Matters: Influence, Scientific Rigor, and Policy Making by Pamela Barnhouse Walters and Annette Lareau

Key features


  • The addition of topics related to the sociology of higher education broadens the scope of this engaging reader
  • Updated readings on gender now include work on masculinities as well as femininities, along with selections examining race, class, and gender with an intersectional lens
  • New readings reflect the diversity of students in American schools, going beyond the consideration of black students and white students and including the experiences of Latino and Asian American students as well


  • Illustrates the fundamental ideas and insights developed by past and current research in the sociology of education
  • Reflects mainstream sociological concerns through a broad range of accessible and engaging readings 
  • Identifies relationships between schools and communities and schools and student behavior 
  • Investigates relevant school-level practices and significant individual-level outcomes associated with variation in schooling, including student behavior, delinquency, and crime 

The 3E contains 11 new readings and several reading from the 2E that have been re-edited for clarity.

The editors have expanded the scope of the book to include more coverage of Pre-K Education and Higher Education.

Readings on gender now include selections that focus on masculinities as well as femininities.

Updated readings on Tracking to reflect new research on changes in course-taking, including the move exponentail growth in AP classes.

The 3E reflects the increasing diversity of students in American schools beyond the differences between black and white students, with new readings on the experiences of Latino and Asian American students.

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 3

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Richard Arum

Richard Arum has recently served as Professor of Sociology and Education at New York University; Program Director of Education Research at the Social Science Research Council; and Senior Fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His past work with various co-authors includes Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates (University of Chicago Press, 2014); Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (University of Chicago Press, 2011); Judging School Discipline: The Crisis of Moral Authority (Harvard University Press, 2003); Stratification in Higher Education: A Comparative Study (Stanford... More About Author

Irenee R. Beattie

Irenee Beattie is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of California, Merced. Her research examines racial/ethnic, gender, and class inequalities in adolescent transitions to adulthood as well as how families, high schools, and colleges can foster beneficial social capital among underrepresented college student populations. Her research has been funded by the American Educational Research Association and the Hellman Faculty Fellows Fund. She has published in various outlets such as Sociology of Education, Youth & Society, and Harvard University Press. More About Author

Karly S. Ford

Karly Ford is an Assistant Professor at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on the relationship between education and social stratification. She received a Masters of Education in International Education Policy from Harvard University in 2007 and a Ph.D. in Sociology of Education from New York University in 2014. Ford's research interests are Higher Education, Sociology of Education, International Comparative Education, Institutional Variation, and Educational Assessment.  More About Author

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ISBN: 9781452205427

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