Functionalists View on the Role of Education

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  • Created on: 07-01-16 14:20
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  • Functionalists View on the Role of Education
    • Durkhiem
      • The main functions of education
        • Creating social solidarity
          • School transmits society's norms and values into the individual. Creating a better society for all
            • ? Marxists argue that educational institutions o transmit a dominant culture which serves the capitalists interest
          • This is where children learn they are part of society which is bigger than them
          • School is society in miniature. Children learn to interact with others and learn social rules
            • The transmission of norms and values is not always successful. Some students openly reject the values of the school and form anti-school sub-cultures. e.g Willis' lads
        • Teaching specialist skills
          • individuals must be taught specialist skills so that they can take their place within a highly complex division of labour in which people have to co-operate to produce items.
    • Parsons
      • socialization, education acts as a bridge between the family and wider society.
      • Socialises the individual in the basic values of society. There's two main lessons
        • The value of achievement- they can achieve through hard work and their own merit
          • But gender, class and race inequalities disprove this
        • The value of opportunity- through meritocracy everyone has a chance
        • Wrong argues that functionalists like Parsons have an over-socialised view of people as mere puppets of society
    • Davis & Moore
      • Education as a means of role allocation
        • The education system sifts and sorts people according to their abilities
          • Intelligence and ability have only a limited influence on educational achievement. Research indicates that achievement is closely tied to issues of social class, gender and ethnicity
        • The most talented gain high qualifications which lead to functionally important jobs with high rewards
        • This will lead to inequalities in society, but this is quite natural and even desirable in capitalist societies because there is only a limited amount of talent.
          • Those denied success blame themselves rather than the system. Inequality in society is thus legitimated: it is made to appear fair.


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