Race, Class, and Theories of Inequality in the Sociology of Education

  • Samuel R. LucasEmail author
  • Véronique Irwin
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


After explaining a focus on race and class inequality, we briefly sketch contemporary racial and socioeconomic inequality in education. Then, we convey key criteria used to select which of the many theories to consider. We then describe ten theories of racial/ethnic- and class-linked inequality in education. After the last theory has been described, we identify selected points of contact across the theories. We then discuss three examples of existing research to demonstrate how research may be used to assess the theories. We conclude by offering suggestions for next steps.


Theories of inequality Social stratification Race and ethnic identity 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of California-BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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