Two Key Questions Asked By Functionalists
- What are the functions of society as a whole?
- What are the functional relationships between education and other parts of the social system?
How do they view education?
- As the teaching of social norms and values to help keep the social harmony and consensus in society.
- Functionalism is based on the view that society is a system of interdependent parts held together by a shared culture or value consenseus.
- Durkheim called this value consensus the collective conscience.
- The collective conscience represents the agreement among society's members about what values are important.
- Each part of society such as the family, the education system or the economy perform functions that help to maintain society as a whole.
- When studying education functionalists seek to discover what functions it performs- that is what does education do to help meet the needs of society.
- CONSENSUS: Agreement among society's members about what values are important, a shared culture. According to functionalists it intergrates individuals into society giving them a sense of solidarity.
- COLLECTIVE CONSCIENCE: A set of shared beliefs, ideas and moral attitudes which operate as a unifying force in society.
- SOCIAL SOLIDARITY:Shared norms and values and every one feels part of a 'single body' or community.
- PARTICULARISTIC STANDARDS: Rules that only apply to a particular child.
- UNIVERSALISTIC STANDARDS: The same standards apply to everybody.
- ASCRIBED AND ACHEIVED STATUS: Status is inherited-ascribed. Status is earned by hard work and skill-acheived.
- MERITOCRATIC SOCIETY: Everyone is given an equal opportunity and individuals achieve rewards through ability and effort.
- BRIDGE BETWEEN FAMILY AND SOCIETY: Education is seen as the bridge between family and society-teaches secondary socialisation. Develops from childhood to adulthood.
- ROLE ALLOCATION: Being given a social role.
Durkheim: Education and Solidarity
- In the eyes of Durkheim, the education system is another vital organ in the organic analogy model.
- Without eductaion society would cease to function.
He identified 2 main eductaion functions:
1. To teach social solidarity
2. To teach specialist skills
- He believed that the education system created social solidarity by socializing children into the norms and values of society (value consensus).
'My Secondary Socialisation'
- Having good manners
- Time keeping
- TH: Marxists would say that we have been socialized into the capitalist norms and values.
Creating Social Solidarity
- ''To act morally is in the collective interest''
- What does this mean for children?
- 1. Children must self-restraint instead of following their own impulses.
- 2. Children must fit in with the patterns of behaviour adopted by others and accept the discipline imposed by the school.
- The education system helps to create social solidarity by transmitting society's cultures- its shared beliefs and values from one generation to another.
- How do the following subjects give pupils a shared sense of culture and history?
- History: Shows how society in the past has been strong and how we can carry foward these norms and values.
- English: How to write and speak.
Teaching Specialist Skills
- Schools also prepare pupils for life in wider society.
- Eg. At both school and work we have to co-operate with people, we have to interact in different ways and follow rules.
- Thinking like a Functionalist.....
- How is this positive for society?
- If people get on in the work place= more productivity= economic benefit= harmony and social solidarity maintained.
- How is this positive for the individual?
- Teaches you skills to help self provision and family care= harmony.
Criticisms of Durkheim
- 1) Outdated + Traditional views
- 2) Doesn't focus on conflict- only harmony
- 3) Patriarchal- sterotypes for male kind of jobs.
- 4) Marxists would say that education is just another way to uphold capitalism by allowing the bourgeoisie to succeed and keeping the workers poorly educated in low paid jobs.
- 5) No longer relevant in over multi-cultural society. His theory of education promoting social solidarity doesn't highlight faith schools teach ns+vs of a specifc religion.
- Heargreaves agreed with Durkheim that the role of the eductaion system was to teach and promote scoial solidarity
- However, he believed that contemporary society was failing to do so
Ways to foster group solidarity in schools:
- Cooperative group projects in the classroom
- School plays
- School camps
- Inter-school sports
- Introduced as part of the curriculum to allow for:
- Learning of political laws and system
- Tolerance and understanding of opposing views
- collective conscience
- social solidarity
Davis and Moore: Sifting & Sorting
- Believe that education is "the providing ground for ability and hence the selective agency for placing people in different statuses according to their capabilities".
- 5 roles that require specialist training:
- 1. Manual Labour (eg. builders)
- 2. Medics ( eg. doctors)
- 3. Government Ministers
- 4. Scientific jobs (eg. marine biologists)
- 5. Public Services (eg. teaching)
- Why do these roles need to be fulfilled?
- We need specialist skilled jobs, and so need specialist training to get those best able to fulfill the jobs and to do so must offer incentives.
Sifting & Sorting & Differential Rewards. Is this
Yes I think it is fair because...
Higher skilled jobs should have higher rewards because they require much more qualifications which cost money, time to train and effort. And it is a motivational theory.
Parsons: Three Functions of the Education System
- Definition of Meritocracy:
- An educational or social system where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed and where individuals rewards and status are achieved through their own efforts/hard work.
- In the family children are judged by particularistic standards. (where the rules apply to that particular child)
- For example children are rewarded and punished differently such as going on the naughty step etc. or having sweet/pocket money.
- Also in the family, a child's status is ascribed (fixed at birth) and thus an elder child may have different rights and duties to a younger child.
- In the school (and wider society) individuals are judged by universalistic standards (the same laws apply to us all).
- Eg. In exams everyone must follow the rules of the invidulators in exams.
- The main statuses are acheieved rather than ascribed- individuals must work hard to achieve a better job etc.
Parsons: Three Functions of the Education System C
- Parsons sees the school as preparing us to move from the family to wider society because the school and society are based on meritocratic principles.
- In a meritocratic society everyone is given and equal chance to succeed and rewards are achieved through efforts and hardwork of the individual.
- Parsons further argues that the school selects and allocates pupils to their future work roles.
- The school performs this function by assessing pupil's aptitudes and abilities to help match them to the job they are best suited to.
So Parsons would argue the 3 main functions are...
1. Role Allocation- The school selects and allocates pupils to their future work roles.
2. Bridge between the family & society- Teaches meritocracy and prepares and educates us to work in society which enhances social solidarity.
3. Socialization- Socializes us into the norms and values of scoiety and teaches us meritocracy.
Criticisms of Parsons
1. Role allocation isn't an option for everyone should be able to control choices or by family members.
2. Marxist: Still not fair- still about class and status and some marxists do not believe in meritocracys.
3. Social class/ethnicity/religion can mean different treatment.