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The Role of Education
Functionalism is based on the view that society is a system of interdependent parts held together by a
shared culture or value consensus ­ an agreement among society's members about what values are

Each part of society, such as the family, economy or education…

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In the family, the child's status is ascribed; that is, fixed by birth.
Both school and wider society judge us all the same universalistic and impersonal standards
In both school and wider society, a person's status is achieved, no ascribed
School is preparing us to move from the family to…

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The New Right is a conservative political perspective.

Its ideas have influenced both Labour and Conservative policies.

A central principle of New Right thinking is the belief that the state cannot meet people's needs and that
people are best left to meet their own needs through the free market. For…

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Chubb and Moe base their arguments on a comparison of the achievements of 60,000 pupils
from low-income families in 1,015 state and private high schools, together with the findings of a
parent survey and case studies of `failing' schools apparently being `turned around'. Their
evidence shows that pupils from low-income…

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Marx believed that ultimately the proletariat would unite to overthrow the capitalist system and create a
classless, equal society.

However, despite this potential for revolution that capitalism contains, it is able to continue because the
bourgeoisie also control the state. A key component of the state is the education system,…

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A key myth that education promotes is the `myth of meritocracy'. Meritocracy means that
everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve, that rewards are based on ability and effort, and
that those who gain the highest rewards deserve them because they are the most able and
Evidence shows that…

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postmodernists, Morrow and Torres argue that society is now more diverse. They see non-class
inequalities, such as ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, as equally important. They argue that
sociologists must explain how education reproduces and legitimates all forms of inequality, not
just class, and how the different forms of inequality are…

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the most able do
the most important

· Marxists - values transmitted
are not society's shared
values, but rather those of
the ruling class
· Not meritocratic ­ schools
discriminate against some
groups and don't give them
an equal opportunity to
· Hargreaves (1982) ­ schools
place more…

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national culture, but imposes
the culture of the Bourgeoisie

Marxist Althusser The ideological
1971 state apparatus ­
controlling people's
Social beliefs
The repressive
state apparatus -
inequalities state uses force to
repress the
working class
Bowles and Correspondence
Gintis 1976 principle
between social…

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have to take on
unskilled jobs that
suits capitalism

· Postmodernists
· Marxism is out of
date and
principle no longer
· Class divisions are no
longer important
· Feminists
· Schools produce not
only capitalism, but
· McRobbie ­ females
are largely absent
from Willis' study…


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