Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 1977 Issue »

    Some Comparative Principles of Educational Stratification

    Randall Collins
    During the 1950s and early 1960s functionalism, which held that education socializes the young and provides socially necessary technical skills, provided the dominant explanation for the genesis and role of educational systems. In the late 1960s, various neo-Marxist positions appeared which pointed to education's role in maintaining class inequality. Drawing on the work of Max Weber, Randall Collins proposes to move beyond both types of explanation by demonstrating the role of three sources of demand for education—the demand of individuals for practical skills, the desire of groups for social solidarity and high status, and the concern of states for effective political control. These sources and their consequences can be conceptualized as operating within a market for cultural goods which behaves much like the market for economic goods.

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