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DURKHEIM: SOLIDARITY AND
SKILLS
Social solidarity:
Members of society need to feel that they are part of a community.
Without social solidarity, social life and cooperation would be impossible
because each individual would pursue their own selfish desires.
The education system helps to create solidarity by transmitting society's
culture.
Durkheim argues that teaching a country's history instils a sense of a shared
heritage and a commitment to a wider social group.
School also prepares us for life in wider society.
At work and school we have to cooperate with people who are not friends or
family - teachers and pupils at school, colleagues and customers at work.
In both school and work we have to interact with others according to a set of…read more

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DURKHEIM: SOLIDARITY AND
SKILLS
Specialist skills:
Modern industrial economies have a complex division of labour, where the
production of an item requires the cooperation of different specialists.
Each person needs to have the necessary specialist skills/knowledge for
their role.
Durkheim argues that education teachers individuals the skills they need to
play their part in the division of labour.…read more

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PARSONS: MERITOCRACY
Parsons believes that school acts as a bridge between the family and wider
society.
This bridge is necessary because children need to learn a new way of living
in order to cope with the wider world.
School judges us with the same universalistic and impersonal standards (e.
g. everyone sits the same exam, and the pass mark is the same for
everyone).
Within education, an individual's status is achieved rather than ascribed (e.g.
we pass or fail as a result of our own efforts).
Parsons says that school prepares us to move from the family into wider
society because school and society are both based on meritocratic
principles.
In a meritocracy, everyone is given an equal opportunity to succeed and we…read more

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DAVIS AND MOORE: ROLE
ALLOCATION
Davis and Moore believe that education acts as a device for selection and
role allocation ­ focusing on the relationship between education and social
inequality.
They argue that inequality is necessary to ensure that the most important
roles in society are filled by the most talented people (e.g. it would be
dangerous to have someone less able performing a role such as 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 can then
select the most talented people to fill these positions.
Education plays a key part in this process as it `sifts and sorts' us according
to our ability.
The most able gain the highest qualifications, which then gives them entry to
the most important and highly rewarded jobs.…read more

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EVALUATION OF THE
FUNCTIONALIST
PERSPECTIVE
There is evidence that equal opportunity in education does not exist
(achievement is greatly influenced by class background).
Tumin criticises Davis and Moore for putting forward a circular argument that
doesn't actually explain how we know that some jobs are more important, or
why they are highly paid.
Marxists argue that education in a capitalist society only transmits the
ideology of a minority (the ruling class).
Wrong, an interactionist, argues that functionalists wrongly imply that pupils
passively accept what they are taught and never reject the school's values.
The New Right argue that the state education system fails to adequately
prepare young people for work because state control of education
discourages efficiency, competition and choice.…read more

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