First published in 1981, this book provides a basic introduction to the sociology of education. It brings together many of the principal arguments in order to help the student reach an understanding of the multitude of conflicting opinions, theoretical positions and biases within the field. The work considers the structures within which the child, the family and the classroom are located, focusing on the theory and the ways in which they can be used to explain the workings of the educational system. It introduces not only the work of classical educational sociologists such as Durkheim, Weber and Marx, but also more recent scholars such as Halsey, Becker and Althusser. With a global coverage, the book emphasizes the implications of the developments of the sociology of education for educational policy.