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The Structure of Schooling

The Structure of Schooling
Readings in the Sociology of Education

Third Edition
  • 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

A comprehensive, accessible reader that examines critical topics on schools and education.

December 2014 | 800 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The Structure of Schooling: Readings in the Sociology of Education exposes students to examples of sociological research on schools, with a focus on the school as community. Now in its Third Edition, this engaging reader has broadened its scope even more, presenting additional readings in particular related to the sociology of higher education. The book draws from classic and contemporary scholarship to examine current issues and diverse theoretical approaches to studying the effects of schooling on individuals and society. In addition to covering traditional areas such as stratification and racial inequality, the book also veers off the beaten path, including readings on such contemporary topics as bullying, school shootings, school choice, and teen social media use.
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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