Sociologists - Education

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  • Education
    • Ball, Bowe and Gewirtz
      • focus on the effects that parental choice and competition between schools has on the education system, in particular whether it leads to greater inequality
        • argue that marketisation and educational reform reinforce the advantages of middle-class parents and make education less equal
          • schools are now more concerned with attracting gifted and advantaged students rather than with helping disadvantaged ones
    • Parsons
      • Education is the main agency of socialisation in modern society
        • it acts as a bridge between the family and society, and prepares children for their adult roles
        • prepares children to enter the wider society by treating everyone in terms of universalistic standards and by operating on the basis of achieved status
        • schools promote two key values
          • achievement
            • having been through school, people accept being rewarded differently based on achievement as long as there are equal opportunities
              • equality of opportunity
          • equality of opportunity
        • role allocation
          • education system matches individuals to their future jobs and status in society, based on talents and ability
            • in a meritocracy, the most able reach the top jobs
    • Ball
      • undertook a case study on banding and teacher expectations
        • some students' behaviour changed over time as a result of the band they were placed in
          • Ball linked this to teacher expectations of each band
            • each band was taught differently and followed different educational routes
        • students were less polarised when mixed-ability groups were introduced
          • teachers, however, continued to label middle-class students as the most able and cooperative
            • this labelling was reflected in exam results
    • Durkheim
      • Main function of education is to transmit society's norms and values
        • eg. subjects like history instill shared norms and values, and encourage children to see themselves as part of society
        • through snactions att school and by respecting the school rules, children learn to respect rules in general
        • education equips children with the skills they will need for their future work roles
    • Halsey, Heath and Ridge
      • examined the social class origins and educational destinations of a large sample of men
        • social class was based on their father's occupation and split into 3 groups
          • the intermediate class (eg. clerical workers)
          • the service class (eg. higher-grade professionals)
          • the working class (eg. manual workers in industry)
        • found evidence of social class inequalities in edcation
          • eg. a boy from the service class was 11x more likely to go to university than a working-class boy
    • Bowles and Gintis
      • Main role of the education system is to reproduce a workforce with the necessary qualities to meet the needs of the capitalist economy
        • use the term 'correspondence principle' to describe the way education and work connect or fit together in capitalist society
          • eg. in school and the workplace, there is a rigid hierarchy of authority with rues and discipline
    • Willis
      • carried out a study on 12 working-class boys
        • argues that their counter-school culture prepares them for working-class jobs and the shop-floor culture
          • shows how working-class boys end up in working-class jobs in a capitalist economy
            • the class structure is reproduced over time
              • education does not socialise the boys into becoming passive and docile workers for capitalism
                • the boys challenged authority figures at school on a daily basis
                  • emphasises the workings of the counter-school culture rather than the power of the education system in the socialisation process in explaining why working-class students end up in working-class jobs


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