Functionalism and Education

  • Created by: bex77
  • Created on: 23-02-21 12:59
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  • Functionalism & Education
    • Durkheim
      • Social Solidarity
        • Education system transmits society's culture from 1 generation to the next
          • Without this, social life would be impossible as people would follow their own selfish desires
        • E.G teaching history gives children a sense of common identity
      • Mini Society/ Society in Miniature
        • School acts as a small scale version of society as a whole
          • This prepares young people for life in the wider adult society
        • E.G communication, cooperation, dress code, hierarchy, respecting authority, time keeping
    • Parsons
      • School is the 'bridge' between family and society
        • This is needed because family and society operate on different principles, so children need to learn a new way of living in order to cope in the outside world
        • Children's status in the family is ascribed and judged on particularistic values
        • Society is meritocratic and based on universalistic values
      • School prepares us for society as they use universalistic values based on meritocratic principles
        • E.G sanctions and rewards apply to everyone, need to put work in to get good grades
    • Davis and Moore
      • Agree with Parsons but also see education as a device for 'role allocation'
        • People are 'sifted and sorted' into the hierarchy in society
          • Access to jobs and wealth is based on exam results
      • There is equality of educational opportunities as everyone has an equal chance for success. Inequalities in society are therefore legitimised
      • Inequality is necessary to ensure that the most important roles in society are filled by the most talented people, e.g. not everyone can be a surgeon
        • Not everyone is equally talented so society has to offer higher rewards for these jobs. This will encourage everyone to compete for them and society will select the most talented
    • Shultz
      • Theory of human capital- the knowledge and skills a workforce has that increases its value and usefulness to employers
      • High levels of spending on education and training is justified as it is necessary for a successful economy
        • This is developed through education so that people are properly trained for a wide range of jobs required for the specialised division of labour in a modern economy
          • Education prepares the labour force and ensures the most qualified people get the jobs with the greatest skills and responsibilities


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