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Slide 1

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Argues that education has three broad functions:
1. Role Allocation: education allocates people to the most
appropriate job based on qualifications and their talents.
This is seen to be fair as there is equality of opportunity,
where everyone has the chance of success.
Critics consider the ideas of equality of opportunity and
meritocracy as a myth and question the correspondence
between occupational status and talent.
2. Skills Provision: education teaches skills required by a
modern industrial society.
General skills including literacy and numeracy skills needed
for a particular occupation.
3. Socialisation: maintain society by socialising young people
into key cultural values
Achievement, competition and equality of opportunity.…read more

Slide 2

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Durkheim: education should emphasize the moral responsibilities
that members of society had towards each other and wider
Parson: education forms a bridge between the family and wider
society by socialising children to adapt to a meritocratic view of
Functionalists are criticised for failing to recognize the
diversity of values in modern society and the extent to
which the norms and values of the middle class are
promoted through the education system.…read more

Slide 3

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Education is seen as an important part of the super-
structure of society.
Along with other institutions, it serves the need of the
economic base-everything to do with production in
This base shapes the super-structure, with the super-
structure maintaining and justifying the base.
Therefore education performs two main functions in
a capitalist society:
1. Reproduces the inequalities and social relations of
production of capitalist society.
2. Serves to legitimate these inequalities through the
myth of meritocracy.…read more

Slide 4

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Argues that education system serves to reproduce directly
the capitalist relations of production with the appropriate
skills and attitudes.
=workplace have corresponding features in the education
Teachers are like the bosses, pupils are like the workers who
work for success (wages/exam success)
· However, they point out that success is not entirely related
to intellectual ability.
· Pupils who fit in and conform rise above, than those who
express attitudes or display behaviour which challenge the
· Education system disguises injustice through myth of
meritocracy, as for those denied success blame themselves
rather than the system.…read more

Slide 5

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Reynolds (1989): curriculum doesn't seem designed to teach
either the skills needed by employers or uncritical passive
behaviour that makes workers easy to exploit.
Survival of liberal humanities based subjects and limited
emphasise on science and applied knowledge suggests a lack
of correspondence.
Paul Willis (1977): research `Learning to Labour' showed that
working class `lads' learned to behave at school in way quite
at odds with capitalisms' supposed need for a docile
However, he supported the principle that schools reproduce
the relations of production by demonstrating that the boys
in the anti-school subculture shared a similar outlook to the
worker in the factories they were likely to end up in.
Working class boys accepted the inevitability of educational
failure so they developed strategies (`havin a laff') to deal
with the boredom of school which would serve them well in…read more


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