According to reproduction theories, societal institutions perpetuate or reproduce the wider structures of inequality and oppression in society. Social reproduction theorists draw upon the work of Max Weber, Émile Durkheim, and primarily Karl Marx to demonstrate how societal institutions reproduce and maintain the capitalist economic order.

According to these theories, schools play a fundamental role in this process. Social reproduction theories, also known as structural dominance theories, show a link or correspondence between the structure of schooling and the structure of the capitalist economy. There is, according to this approach, a tight fit between schools and the wider social and economic order. Bowles and Gintis present one of the strongest arguments from this perspective in their 1976 book Schooling in Capitalist America. The authors begin ...

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