Marxism views on Education

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Marxist Perspectives
Named after Karl Marx (1818-1883).
Two main classes in society- the ruling class and the subject class.
Capitalists, those who own private industry form the ruling class.
Workers, those who sell their labour in return for wages form the subject class.
According to Marx, the ruling class exploit the subject class- they gain at the expense of the
Education & Ideology
Althusser argues that no class can hold power by the use of force.
Argues that in modern society the education system has largely replaced the church as the
main agency for ideological control.
Schools transmit an ideology which states that capitalism is just and reasonable.
Schools prepare pupils for their roles in the workforce.
Argues that ideology in capitalist society is fundamental to social control.
He sees the main role of education as transmitting this ideology.
Correspondence Theory
Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis claim that there is a close correspondence between the
social relationships in the classroom and those in the workplace.
This correspondence is essential for social reproduction.
School & Workplace
Schools are based on hierarchies.
Teachers give orders pupils are expected to obey.
Pupils have little control over their work, over the curriculum they follow.
This corresponds to their later experience of lack of control in the workplace.
Pupils are rewarded because punctuality, obedience and hard work.
Young people get little satisfaction from their education.
They are motivated largely by external rewards such as educational qualifications.
This is reflected in the workplace, workers are motivated by external rewards such as pays.
Bowles and Gintis argue that this correspondence between school and the workplace
effectively reproduces workers from one generation to the next.
Social Inequality
According to Bowles and Gintis, education legitimates social inequality by broadcasting the
myth that it offers everybody an equal chance.
High qualifications success
Bowles and Gintis argue that rewards in education and occupation are based not on ability
but on social background.
Higher a person's class of origin the class they began in the more likely they are to attain
high educational qualifications and a top job.

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The class system tends to reproduce itself from generation to generation. This process is
legitimated by education.
Role Allocation
Bowles and Gintis reject the functionalist view of role allocation.
Those who get the highest qualifications and the top jobs do so because of their social
background and because they work hard and do what they're told.
Bowles and Gintis found out that students with high grades tend to be hardworking,
obedient, conforming and dependable.…read more

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He claims that education is becoming increasingly privatised as more and more aspects of
education e.g. school dinners, are being subcontracted to private industry.
Rikowski sees this as the beginning of business takeover of schools.
He argues that education will become like any other private company and its main concern
will be to produce profit.
Marxist sees education in a negative light.
It transmits ruling class ideology and produces a passive and obedient workforce which fits
the requirements of capitalism.…read more


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