This key volume is both timely and important in bringing together for the first time seminal papers and new material to examine an increasingly influential school of thought: realist sociology of education that places knowledge at its heart. This volume covers issues in the sociology of knowledge, the educational system and policy, professional autonomy, vocational education, educational research and teaching, as well as the nature of such disciplines as cultural studies, English, science and the arts. The chapters also directly address the nature of sociology of education itself. The realist position developed in the book challenges two major currents of thought that have for a long time been prominent and influential in sociology and education: postmodernism and progressivism/constructivism.This well-edited collection of papers is provocative and original in that it represents a sustained, collective critique that offers a genuine alternative to these current orthodoxies.

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