Education - Marxism

  • Created by: chlopayne
  • Created on: 19-04-19 11:27
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  • Marxism and education
    • Education is a form of social control
      • It assumes different social classes are in competition for power and wealth.
      • Marxists view education as a means of oppressing the working class.
      • Marxists are generally hostile to formal school organisations and to teachers.
    • Marxism is a conflict theory. Karl Marx said capitalism would be overthrown in his lifetime (1883).
    • Correspondence theory
      • Bowles and Giants = schools are a mirror of society. Society is a hierarchy.
      • Children who succeed in school are obedient and accept authority.
      • Their approach was theoretical.   Bowles and Gintis see school as a conspiracy against working class.
    • Counter school cultures
      • Evidence of revolutionary potential among the working class.
        • Resist the values of capitalism promoted by schools.
      • Argued that only the working class form a counter-school culture.
      • Paul Willis [1970s] studied 12  working-class boys in a secondary school. Writers have criticised Willis.
        • These boys were seen as ‘working-class heroes’, whereas in reality they displayed rampant sexism and racism and were very anti-social.
    • Althusser, = schools transmit capitalist ideology - justifies capitalism.
      • Oversimplification, schools do a great deal more than oppress children and brainwash them.
    • Hidden curriculum
      • Functionalists agree with Marxists that schools teach social ideas without a conscious knowledge that they do so.
        • Marxists  see this process as a negative and oppressive.
      • Ivan Illich [1970s] said that schools kill creativity and children learn to accept authority without challenging it.
      • Criticisms: children may not be engaged in conscious rebellion against school rules.
        • It implies that children cannot judge for themselves the worth of what they are told by teachers.
    • Evaluation
      • Strengths
        • Challenges functionalists views that education system is meritocratic, some pupils have more opportunities.
        • Explanation of class differences in attainment.
        • Highlights the ideological role of education.
      • Weaknesses
        • Overlooks inequality - gender + ethnicity.
        • Ignores that education is a route to better standards for some children.
        • It sees teachers as agents of middle class.
        • Education is designed to serve the needs of employers.
    • Cultural capital
      • Embodied capitalrefers to class indicators such as accent, culture and manners
      • Objectified capital refers to ownership and access to social markers such as knowledge of music, access to art and books.
      • Institutionalised capitalis capital that signifies authority and power


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