Sociologists Table - AS Education

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Sociologist Views
Durkheim Education prevents Anomie ­ State of chaos resulting from no shared norms or values
Argues that education creates social solidarity by integrating individuals into a shared culture. Education also prepares
individuals for their positions in the division of labour by teaching skills required in work and industry
Bowles and Gintis School imitates the workplace
Argue that education in capitalist society reproduces and legitimizes social inequality. Firstly schools reproduce a
workforce with the skills that are needed at different levels of the capitalist economy. Secondly they legitimize the
inequalities they produce by making them seem fair and natural.
The correspondence principle ­ Education exists in the `long shadow of work'. Schools resemble offices and
factories. Schools, like factories, are based on a system of top-down control and the hidden curriculum rewards
the hierarchal division of labour ­ selection and streaming in schools reproduces workers for different levels of the
production process
the myth of meritocracy ­ the education system is a giant myth making machine, which convinces people that social
positions are based on merit, when in fact they are pre-determined by class background.
Parsons Identifies socialisation and social integration as key functions but puts more emphasis on the need for social selection
and role allocation. Schools are agencies of secondary socialisation that transmit skills and values like Davis and Moore
he argues the education system is a meritocracy
Willis Study of `the lads' ­ a group of w/c rebels in a comprehensive school ­ is similar to Bowles and Gintis' approach in
emphasizing the close relationship between education and work. Both adopt a Marxist approach. However Willis
stresses the importance of the lads `counter culture' and the shop floor culture it reflects. w/c resist dominant
ideology. Unlike Bowles and Gintis who see the education system as all-powerful, Willis sees `the lads' counter culture
as evidence of class struggle and w/c resistance
Becker Shows teachers have an image of the ideal pupil that equates to the M/C.
Teachers perceived W/C as lacking motivation and difficult to control.
The self-fulfilling prophecy affects children's self-image and academic performance. Labelled negative ­ deteriorate.
Labelled positive ­ improve.
Driver and Ballard High achievement in Asian groups may be due to presence of close-knit extended family
Pryce Highlights a high rate of matriarchal single parent families in black Caribbean's expelling why they generally do worse
in attainment but girls do better.

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Hargreaves, Hey, All research studied into subcultures in schools
Sewell These biases can also have an impact on the achievement of students This is because some are more used to or more
fluent in the `culture' of the curriculum, whereas others have to `catch-up' and often many don't. The curriculum is one
explanation for the underachievement in children.
Douglas Identifies major external causes of W/C underachievement as cultural and material deprivation.…read more

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Argues that we need to recognise both continuity and change in education. In common with Giddens, he uses the term
`late modern' rather than `post modern' to describe our society. He argues education continues to reproduce and
legitimise social inequality.
Bereiter et al Put forward cultural and linguistic deprivation as an explanation of the below average achievement of ethnic minority.
The culture and language is seen as deficient and lack background knowledge and experience required for success at
Baratz Argue against Bereiter et al.…read more

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Arnot et al. Between 1984 and 1994, girls improved their performance at GCSE, but bots performed better at A level.…read more

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MacDonald Criticises Bowles and Gintis for ignoring gender inequality. From a feminist perspective she argues that schools
reproduce both capitalism and patriarchy. Gender divisions in schools correspond to gender divisions in employment.
The school hierarchy mirrors the control of women by male managers in the workplace.
Bourdieu Sees the education system as reproducing and legitimizing social inequality. However, he attatches importance to
cultural capital. He argues the education system reproduces inequality for assuming everyone possesses cultural
capital but in reality only m/c do.…read more


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