Louis Althusser

  • argued the education system was part of what he called the Ideological State Apparatus.
  • the bourgeoisie maintain power by using both repressivestate appartus and ideological state apparatus:institutions that spread bourgeoisie ideology and ensure that the proletariat is in a state of false class consciousness
  • schools and educational institutions prepare working-class pupils to accept a life of exploitation. norms and are those thatserve the interests of the ruling class and t is a capitalist consensus that prevents necessary social change.
  • in terms of the formal curriculum, decisions about what is taught and what is not taught impact the nature of the value consensus that the education system creates
  • outside of the formal corriculum, education teaches us about hierarchy, repect for authority, obeying the rules; Althusser argues that these serve to keep the rich and powerful in their positions and to prevent rebellion and revolution
1 of 9

Bowles and Gintis

  • both marxists who identified a "correspondance" between school and the workplace; both involve uniforms, strict time-keeping, hierarchy, rewards, punishments, etc
  • schools work directly in the interests of the capitalist system the the ruling class and their principle purpose is to produce the workforce
2 of 9

How Education Corresponds With Workplace

  • hierarchy: head teacher at top and staff and pupils at bottom; boss at the top of the company, different levels of management beneath that, workers at the bottom
  • rewards and sanctions: pupils rewarded with good marks or stamps which Bowles and Gintis say can also be given for compliancne and perseverance not just good work; workers rewarded with pay for doing as instructed and working tirelessley without complaint
  • pasive and docile: trains people to be passive and docile discouraging creativity and complaints and encourage deference and supervience; capitalist system seeks pasive and docile workforc, the bosses have the ideas and expect the workforce to get on with the work without complaint                                                                                                  
3 of 9

Willis: Learning to Labour

  • the experience of being a working-class "lad" at school prepares young people for the boredom of manual labour by allowing them to develop a distinct set of values which serve a coping mechanism
  • lads do not value the rewards provided by schools and see it more important to be "having a laff"; for "the lads" the worst thing you can be is an "ear'ole"
  • at work - they have their little rebellions through schoolyard humour and mockery, which contributes to there never being the sort of rebellion that could threaten the capitalist system
  • this is a neo-marxist view and like other neo-marxists, Williswould recognise that a lot of teachers are not deliberately working on behalf of the bourgeoisie and the capitalist system
  • it is not necessarilly that teachers set out to ensure working-class pupils fail and middle-class succeed but it happens
4 of 9

Cultrual Capital

  • Pierre Bourdieu argued that it is not only money that gives the wealthy power, but cultrual assets too, for example middle-class people are likely to have knowledge, behaviour, attitudes and cultrual experiences that ensures that they succeed in education
  • Bourdieu developed concept of habitus by which he meant a culture or worldview that is associated with a social class or social group, as such cultural capital is not just knowing names of classical composers but can also be demonstrated through much more subtle and deeply-ingrained attributes
  • Basil Bernstein argued that teachers, textbooks,exam papers and middle-class pupils share a different language code to working-class pupils, contributing to the reproduction of ineqaulity as large parts of the education system assess people not on intelligencebut on the extent to which they have a middle-class habitus
5 of 9

Feminist Views on Education

  • liberal feminists ackowledge significant strides towards equality in the education system, for example in the 40s and 50s boys had a lower pass rate for the 11+ than girls and some subjects were specifically for one gender; today now subjects are optional, there are quite clear gender preferences for one subject or another, but all subjects are open to all pupils
  • radical feminists argue that the eudcation system is still fundamentally patriarchal and continues to marginalise and oppress women; reinforces patriarcahl ideology through the formal and hidden corriculum and normalising oppression towards women
  • black and difference feminists point out how minority-ethnic girls are often victims of specific stereotyping and assumptions, for example teachers might assume that muslim girls have diffferent aspirations in relation to a career and family from their peers
6 of 9

Evaluating Correspondance Theory

  • Bowles and Gintis' research was carried out in 1976 and so can be argued that it is out of date; the modern workplace has changed a lot since then, however there are still factory jobs similar to those described
  • this still criticises todays educaton system as it mirrors an outdated workforce and so does not prepare children for the modern workplace; Ken  Robinson says education system is based on the principles of industrialsm and does not value creativity like it should do
  • some suggest pupils now are encouraged to get involved with democratic structures and complain about aspects of school they dislike, and to come up with improvements; marxists would assume these aspects are unwanted in the workplace in a capitalist system
7 of 9

Evaluating Neo-Marxism

  School teachers are now coming from a wide range of social background as more working class people are attending university so teachers are now more understanding of working class habitus as they will understand the language codes and barriers for working class pupils and help to break these barriers through their similar experience.

8 of 9

Evaluating Feminist Views

  • Education is a mainly female dominated career option as most teachers are women
  • Education system is resulting in massive amounts of female success and male underperformance.
  • The education system is sending more girls into higher education than men.
  • However there still is a gender pay gap exisiting and the glass ceiling which shows although girls are outperforming boys within education, boys are still going on to recieve higher paid work and losing out on highr positioned jobs due to having absence due to maternity leave for example.
9 of 9


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Education resources »