Social Theory and Education

A Critique of Theories of Social and Cultural Reproduction

By Raymond Allen Morrow & Carlos Alberto Torres

Subjects: Social Theory
Series: SUNY series, Teacher Empowerment and School Reform
Paperback : 9780791422526, 534 pages, March 1995
Hardcover : 9780791422519, 534 pages, March 1995

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Table of contents



Part 1. Social Theory and Education

1. Introduction

2. Metatheoretical Foundations

Part 2. Structural Functionalism and Systems Theories

3. The Functionalist Tradition: Parsons and Education

4. Neofunctionalism and Education

Part 3. Structuralism: Neo-Marxist and Conflict Theories

5. Structuralism and the Logic of Reproduction

6. Structuralist Marxism: Correspondence Theories

7. Structural Conflict Theories: Culture, Class, and Domination

Part 4. The Convergence of Neo-Gramscian and Critical Theory

8. Critical Theory and Education: From the Frankfurt School to Poststructuralism

9. The Two Gramscis and Education: Technical Competence versus Political Consciousness

Part 5. Agency and Structure: Resistance and Reproduction

10. The Recovery of Agency: From the British New Sociology of Education to Cultural Studies

11. Critical Pedagogy in the United States: Michael Apple and Henry Giroux

Part 6. Education, the State, and the Logic of Reproduction

12. The Capitalist State and Educational Policy Formation

13. Education, Race, and Gender: Towards a Critical Modernist Perspective

14. Education, the Fragmentation of Domination, and Postmodernism

15. The Logic of Reproduction: Summary and Conclusions




This book summarizes and critiques theories of social and cultural reproduction as they relate to sociology of education.


This book summarizes the body of knowledge about sociology of education and cultural studies as it informs educational research and critical pedagogy. It synthesizes the most relevant work in social and cultural reproduction published in the last three decades in English, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. The authors document and critique the theoretical discussion in developments in both advanced societies and peripheral ones, and link macro-sociological issues with social psychological ones. The book introduces theories of the state to underscore a political sociology of education, and highlights an agenda for theory building, research, and practice in sociology of education.

Raymond Allen Morrow is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Alberta, Canada. Carlos Alberto Torres is Professor and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs with the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Los Angeles.


"Morrow and Torres have given us more than a cornucopia of social theories relevant to the study of reproduction and transformation in and through education. They have carefully examined the theoretical assumptions and political implications of each perspective, showing variations within each perspective as well as similarities and differences among the various perspectives. For a book to deal adequately, let alone in depth, with perspectives, such as functionalism, neo-functionalism, structural marxist, structural conflict, critical theory, neo-marxist, Gramscian, feminist, post-structuralist and post-modernist, is a major accomplishment. "—Mark B. Ginsburg, University of Pittsburgh

"This is an impressive analysis that draws together multiple theoretical foci into a conversation with one another. This includes seeing a relation among classical social theory, cultural studies, critical pedagogy, studies of race/gender/class, and state theories. Its focus on critical issues of production/reproduction in educational theories is unique and sophisticated. Further, the book has tremendous scholarly strength through its explorations of various literatures from European, Latin American, British, and U. S. discussions. This exploration involves an intellectual history that traces developments of traditions as part of a global system of intellectual life. " — Thomas S. Popkewitz, University of Wisconsin-Madison