This chapter begins with an inventory of some of the most evident features of the current difficulties or ‘crisis’ in state-run, mass-based school systems and in the relations between this form of education and its societal context in the major industrial market societies.1 Then an attempt is made to characterize, in very general terms, the different types of intellectual interpretations of education/society relations that have been developed in the post-World War II period and to suggest the association of such respective interpretations with the changing historical context and the divergent social alignments of educational researchers themselves. Next, the basic elements of the historical materialist approach that will be used in this book to interpret education/society relations in advanced capitalism are presented.2 In the final section, this historical materialist approach is applied to begin to develop a critical analysis of the current educational crisis.