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FUNCTIONALIST SOCIOLOGISTS MARXIST SOCIOLOGISTS
NEW RIGHT SOCIOLOGISTS POSTMODERN SOCIOLOGISTS
Believe that the education system is a myth- Believe that the education system meets the
making machine that brainwashes children needs of modern industrial societies to have an
into docility and obedience. appropriately skilled workforce.
Believe that the education system reproduces Believe that the class system is reproduced by
the next generation of workers for capitalism ­ the schooling system ­ the real task of the
the relationship between teachers and pupils education system is to filter working class
mirrors the exploitative relationship between pupils into working class jobs.
bosses and workers.
E.g. Durkheim argues that society needs a E.g. Parsons argues that within the family, the
sense of solidarity. The education system helps child is judged by `particularistic standards'.
to create social solidarity by transmitting By contrast, both school and wider society
society's culture, e.g. via the teaching of judge us all by the same `universalistic
history. standards', e.g. everyone sits the same exam
and the pass mark is the same for everyone.
E.g. Davis & Moore believe the education E.g. Althusser argues that education is part of
system sifts and sorts pupils according to ability the `ideological state apparatus' which
and places them in appropriate job roles for the maintains the role of the bourgeousie by
economy. They argue that inequality is controlling peoples' ideas, values and beliefs.
necessary to ensure that the most important The education system both reproduces and
roles in society are filled by the most talented legitimates (justifies) class inequality by
individuals. producing ideologies that disguise its true
cause.
E.g. Bowles & Gintis conclude from their study E.g. Willis found that although the working
of New York high school students that schools class lads he studied rejected their school's
reward exactly the kind of personality traits meritocratic ideology as `a con', the very fact
that make for a submissive, compliant worker ­ that they rebelled against the school's norms
e.g. discipline and punctuality. They refer to and values guaranteed that they would end up
the parallels between school and the workplace in working class jobs. Their coping
as `the correspondence principle'. mechanisms for boredom at school served them
well with the tedium of repetitive unskilled
labour.
E.g. Chubb & Moe compared the achievements Believe, like functionalists, that the education
of 60,000 pupils from low-income families in system should be run on meritocratic principles

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They argue that of open competition, and one that serves the
American state education has failed and make needs of the economy by preparing young
the case for opening it up to market forces of people for work.
supply and demand. They propose a system
where each family is given a voucher to spend
on the school of their choice.…read more

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