Education - Functionalism

  • Created by: chlopayne
  • Created on: 19-04-19 10:40
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  • Functionalism and education
    • Assumptions
      • Inequality in education is necessary
      • Children are socialised by schools
      • Education is essential to create a workforce
      • Only the best achieve
      • Those who fail are least able
    • Education is a form of socialisation
      • Role allocation isn't the only function.
      • Durkheim = education is essential to society.
      • Durkeim = the role of education was socialisation.
      • It links people with their culture.
    • Education acts as a bridge between home and society
      • Talcott Parsons = education acts as a bridge between child's experiences of life in family and their experiences of the wider world.
      • Families socialise us into their views. Schools operate according to the values of wider society.
      • These values can clash, parents may offer advice that goes against the school.
      • A value taught in school is 'achievement',children achieve status through hard work and talent. They are encouraged to work hard.
    • Education is meritocratic
      • Davis and Moore (1967) = education helps to allocate people to appropriate job + career roles.
      • Education sifts and sorts children to take on roles, by identifying most talented.
      • Role allocation requires inequalities in educational outcome for children. Best qualifications = better jobs.
      • However, link between qualifications and earning isn't consistent.
      • Ability isn't an easily measurable characteristic,so proving a link between intelligence and earning levels is difficult.
    • Evaluation
      • Strengths
        • Role out of poverty for those who do well.
        • Source of socialisation.
        • Explanation of the importance of education to wider society.
        • Bridges the gap between home and school, people gain status on their own.
        • Provides a highly trained workforce.
        • Davis and Moore said education sorts most able for the best jobs.
      • Weaknesses
        • Too accepting of inequalities of education.
        • Functionalists assume that there is a set of shared values to be transmitted.
        • Marxists and feminists suggest that there is an ideological element in education - class and inequality.
        • Schools teach obedience, not skills.
        • Most powerful people come from wealthy and privileged background, had access to opportunities that most people can't.
        • Feminists say that functionalism ignores the structural inequalities.
        • Marxists say it passes on values that makes inequality acceptable.


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