AS AQA Sociology - Perspectives on education

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Functions of education:
Social integration
Social placement
Social and cultural innovation
Two functions of education:
1. Creating social solidarity
Members must feel part of a community ­ education transmits society's shared culture and beliefs
School acts a `society in miniature' preparing us for wider society: have to cooperate with people and
interact with others according to a set of impersonal rules
2. Teaching specialist skills
Education teaches individuals the specialist knowledge and skills that they need to play their part in the
social division of labour
School is the `focal socialising agency' ­ acts as the bridge between family and wider society (learn different
principles to be able to cope with the wider world)
Particularistic standards within the family (rules that apply to that one child)
School and wider society judges us by the same universalistic standards
Believes in a meritocracy ­ where status is earned through own efforts and through equal opportunity
Davis and Moore:
Schools serve to select and allocate pupils to their future work role
Education is a proving ground of ability ­ it sifts and sorts us according to our ability
The most able gain access to higher rewarding jobs
Marxists argue that the values the education transmits are those of the ruling class, not those of society as a
Wrong: pupils do no passively accept all they are taught and never reject the school's values ­ functionalists
have an `over-socialised' view

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New Right:
Believe that the education system is failing because it is run by the state
The marketisation of education would help empower consumers and bring about a more effective system that
would raise standards, create more diversity and choice and be more efficient
Chubb and Moe
American state education system is failing because it fails to meet the needs of disadvantaged groups, fails to
produce skilled pupils needed for the economy and those who attend private school often gain a higher quality
of education…read more

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State consists of two elements which serve to keep the bourgeoise in power:
1. Repressive State Apparatus (RSA)
Maintain rule of the bourgeoisie by force or the threat of it (e.g the army)
2. Ideological State Apparatus (ISA)
Maintain rule of the bourgeoisie by controlling people's ideas, values and beliefs (e.g religion)
Education serves two functions:
1. Reproduce class inequality by transmitting the ISA from generation to generation
2.…read more


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