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SOC220H1 (34)
Lecture 6

Week 6 Reading Notes Goldthorpe.pdf

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University of Toronto St. George
Josh Curtis

ClassAnalysisandtheReorientationofClassTheoryTheCaseofPersistingDifferentialsinEducationalAttainmentJohnHGoldthorpeTheBritishJournalofSociologyVol47No3SpecialIssueforLockwoodSep1996pp481505StableURLhttplinksjstororgsicisici000713152819960929473A33C4813ACAATRO3E20CO3B2UTheBritishJournalofSociologyiscurrentlypublishedbyTheLondonSchoolofEconomicsandPoliticalScienceYouruseoftheJSTORarchiveindicatesyouracceptanceofJSTORsTermsandConditionsofUseavailableathttpwwwjstororgabouttermshtmlJSTORsTermsandConditionsofUseprovidesinpartthatunlessyouhaveobtainedpriorpermissionyoumaynotdownloadanentireissueofajournalormultiplecopiesofarticlesandyoumayusecontentintheJSTORarchiveonlyforyourpersonalnoncommercialusePleasecontactthepublisherregardinganyfurtheruseofthisworkPublishercontactinformationmaybeobtainedathttpwwwjstororgjournalslonschoolhtmlEachcopyofanypartofaJSTORtransmissionmustcontainthesamecopyrightnoticethatappearsonthescreenorprintedpageofsuchtransmissionTheJSTORArchiveisatrusteddigitalrepositoryprovidingforlongtermpreservationandaccesstoleadingacademicjournalsandscholarlyliteraturefromaroundtheworldTheArchiveissupportedbylibrariesscholarlysocietiespublishersandfoundationsItisaninitiativeofJSTORanotforprofitorganizationwithamissiontohelpthescholarlycommunitytakeadvantageofadvancesintechnologyFormoreinformationregardingJSTORpleasecontactsupportjstororghttpwwwjstororgMonSep101224432007John H Goldthorpe Class analysis and the reorientation of class theory the case of persisting differentials in educational attainment ABSTRACT In class analysis the main regularities that have been established by empirical research are not ones of longterm class formation or decomposition as en visaged in Marxist or liberal theory but rather ones that exhibit the powerful resistance to change of class relations and associated lifechances and patterns of social action If these regularities are to be explained theory needs to be cor respondingly reoriented and must abandon functionalist and teleological assumptions in favour of providing more secure microfoundations This argu ment is developed and illustrated in the course of an attempt to apply rational action theory to the explanation of persisting class differentials in educational attainment KEY WORDS class analysis rational action theory educationaldifferentials educational decisionmakingINTRODUCTION In a previous paper Marshall and I have set out the case for class analysis as a research programme The aim of this programme could be summarized as that of enquiring into the interrelations that prevail among class struc tures class mobility class inequalities and class formation or decomposi tion Viewed in this way we argued class analysis does not entail a commitment to any particular theory of class but rather provides a con text in which different and indeed rival theories may be formulated and assessed Goldthorpe and Marshall 1992 382 It is specifically to such theoretical development and critique within the research programme of class analysis that I wish to turn in the present paper I take the development of theory to be a more ambitious and dif ficult enterprise than simply the elaboration of concepts The key explanatmy requirement of theory as here understood is that it should have force A sociologrcal theory is of value to the extent that it can provide an BnlJnl of Soctology Volume no 47 Issue no 3 September 1996 ISSN 00071315 0 London School of Economcs 1996
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