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First published in 1979, this now classic text presents a major study of the development of educational systems, focusing in detail on those of England, Denmark, France, and Russia - chosen because of their present educational differences and the historical diversity of their cultures and social structures. Professor Archer goes on to provide a theoretical framework which accounts for the major characteristics of national education and the principal changes that such systems have undergone. Now with a new introduction, Social Origins of Educational Systems is vital reading for all those interested in the sociology of education. Previously published reviews: 'A large-scale masterly study, this book is the most important contribution to the sociology of education since the second world war as well as being a substantial contribution to the consolidation of sociology itself.' - The Economist 'I cannot improve on her own statement of what she is trying to do: 'The sociological contribution consists in providing a theoretical account of macroscopic patterns of change in terms of the structural and cultural factors which produce and sustain them'...Unquestionably, this book is an impressive work of scholarship, well planned conceptually and uniting its theoretical base with a set of four thoroughly and interestingly researched case-studies of the history of the educational systems of Denmark, England, France and Russia.' - British Journal of the Sociology of Education 'This magnificent treatise seriously explores many of the most recalcitrant questions about institutional systems.' - Journal of Curriculum Studies 'A gargantuan and impressive socio-historical enterprise.' - Encounter '...a major achievement.' - New Society