Contents: Introduction: educational policy and social inequalities in school achievement, Hugh Lauder; Overview: approaches to inequalities in school achievement; Part 1 Theoretical Foundations: Realism in the sociology of education: 'explaining' the social differences in attainment; Numbers and narratives: further reflections in the sociology of education; Social explanation and socialisation: on Bordieu and the structure-disposition-practice scheme. Part 2 Early Class Differentials in Cognition: Class 'ability' and attainment: a problem for the sociology of education; Cognitive habitus and collective intelligence: concepts for the explanation of inequality of educational opportunity; Bernstein and the explanation of social disparities in education: a realist critique of the sociolinguistic thesis. Part 3 Classed Identities in Formation: Can the arbitrary and the necessary be reconciled? Scientific realism and the school curriculum; Social capital, class identity, and progress at school: case studies; Pedagogy and the care for knowledge: reproduction, symbolic violence and realism. Part 4 Secondary Effects and Statistical Modelling: Controlling for 'ability': a conceptual and empirical study of primary and secondary effects; Explanation and quantification in educational research: the arguments of critical and scientific realism; The explanation of social disparities in achievement: what has the sociology of education to offer policymakers?; Index.
Roy Nash, formerly Massey University, New Zealand and Hugh Lauder, University of Bath, UK
'The title of the book was instantly appealing to me, and the author did not disappoint as he tackles this complex topic in depth. The author spent the first half of his life in the UK before moving to New Zealand, and the book draws significant research from both sides of the world... The material in the book is widely researched and each chapter has a clear aim, a conclusion and finishes with extensive references... This is a complex and mainly theoretical book which would be invaluable to those hoping to extend their knowledge of this area. The extensive reference would be useful to doctorate students, and those seeking to carry out further research. I found the book thought-provoking and stimulating... it is accessible to all levels of readership...' DECP Debate: Division of Educational and Child Psychologists