Home > British Journal of Sociology > Past volumes > Volume 54 > Inequality/difference in education: is a real explanation of primary and secondary effects possible?

 

Inequality/difference in education: is a real explanation of primary and secondary effects possible?

The British Journal of Sociology
Volume 54 No 4 December 2003
pages 433-451

Abstract

The persistence of social disparities in educational achievement in contemporary societies is a matter of concern to social theory. Sociology of education has distinguished between the primary and secondary effects of socialization in order to construct explanatory theories of inequality of educational opportunity. Empirical evidence from the recent OECD PISA research is analysed to suggest that causes of the primary effect are the most important. The case is made with close reference to Goldthorpe's attempt to provide a rational action model of social disparities in education. An approach informed by scientific realism is held to offer a more adequate explanation.

Keywords: Action theory, realism, educational differentials, PISA, sociology of education

Roy Nash
Department of Social and Policy Studies in Education, Massey University

Share:Facebook|Twitter|LinkedIn|