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Title: Schools and processes of social differentiation
Author: Martin, Peter J.
ISNI:       0000 0001 2428 531X
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1980
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The thesis reports on research which was concerned to investigate the links between educational attainment and social careers among school leavers from a suburban community. In the first two chapters, the theoretical and methodological background to the study are considered. In Chapter One, it is argued that a "conflict theory" approach can usefully inform the empirical investigation of the role of education in the process of social differentiation; such an approach renders the situation of the "middle class" as equally problematic, in a sociological sense, as that of the "working class" which has attracted most attention among researchers. In Chapter Two, the prevailing approach to the study of the process of social stratification - the sample survey of "social mobility" - is critically examined, and the procedures of the present study are summarised. Chapter Three describes the general pattern of social differentiation among the school leavers of "Middlebrow"; the role of formal education in the process is considered; and it is concluded that the differences in levels of attainment which were observed cannot be accounted for, as has been suggested, by differences in the amount or quality of educational, provision. In Chapter Four, the early post-school careers of the middle class "low achievers" are examined. It is concluded that most of these had managed to reestablish their socioeconomic position, in spite of their low levels of attainment at school. In Chapter Five, possible differences between the careers of "local" and "non-local" leavers are considered; it is concluded that no clear evidence of such differences was obtained in the course of the study. Chapter Six is concerned to examine the implications of "occupational choice" models of the transition from school to work; it is concluded that such models cannot easily accomodate the data produced by this (and other) studies of school leavers. In Chapter Seven, consideration is given to the idea that various "images" of society may influence the actions of individuals who are in different positions in the social structure. It is argued that the analytical difficulties encountered in any attempt to pursue such a perspective are sufficient to render it untenable. Data produced by the present study are considered by way of illustration. In the second part of the Chapter, it is suggested that the "image" of society which has underlain most sociologists' consideration of the process of stratification - an image which derives from the concept of class structure - has itself served to deflect research attention from a concern with those processes which are likely to yield more in the way of sociological understanding.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available