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  • Created by: Iveta
  • Created on: 16-03-14 16:33


Althusser sees education as an 'ideological state apparatus' that controls peoples attitdues and ideas. he claims that education passes on ruling class values and exersises power over the wokring class so treats them less failry. Althusser also argues that education ONLY benefits the ruling class because it reproduces and legitimates CLASS INEQUALITIES.

AO2: However, Functionalist Durkheim rejects this and argues that education UNITES everyone together and benefits everyone equally. Parsons adds that in education, universalistic standards apply where rules apply to everyone equally so there is fairness- refuting Marxist ideas.

Bowles and Gintis build on Althusser's point that the main purpose of education is to reproduce class inequalities and serve the interests of the capitlists.
Their 'correpondance theory' argues that there is a close relationship between schooling and work i.e. school mirrors work. For example, there is a hierachy of teachers that students have to obey, just like workers obey their bosses.
This creates OBEDIANT and UNCRITICAL workers, so they are prepared to be EXPLOITED in the future . Students are also WELL PREPARED for the future as adult workers.

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AO2: However, Brown refutes this and disagrees with Marxists. He believes that there are many school leavers and even graduates that are unemployed, suggesting that schools are NOT preparing students well. This is because modern bussinesses require SHARED CREATIVITY and TEAMWORK but schools encourage compteition through testing them with exams. Therefore, these skills are discouraged

Bowles and Gintis also argue that the hidden curriculum also prepares students for the wolrd of work. This is where they are taught things that are not necessarily in official rules and timetable but will benefit them in the future. For example, students are punished when bad and awarded with good qualifications when they stuy, in the same way workers are rewarded and punished. Also, students are at the bottom of the hierachy and teachers are at the top, just as they will be at the bottom when starting their careers. Students also have to OBEY their teachers
Again, the hidden curriculum also creates OBEDIANT workers where they will be exploited in the future, creating inequalitiues.

AO2: However, students do not always obey their teachers. Neo-Marixst example of the lads: Willis shows how they misbehaved and formed an anti-school subcultre
Interactionist Denise Wrong argues that they are not mere puppets- not all obey

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Bowles and Gintis see the idea of meritocracy as a MYTH because not all students are judged on the basis of their effort. In reality, CLASS BACKGROUND determines whether they succeed in school or not and not the effort they put in. Students end up blaming themselves if they fail and NOT the school system and this is the way INEQUALITIES ARE LEGITIMATED. This explains why the working class do less well because they have less money and cultural capital than the middle class

AO2: Functionalists David and Moore refute this- argue that everyone has an equal chance and education is indeed MERIOTCRATIC. If you work hard, you can achieve any result you want and any job- based on EFFORT they put it. Those who have not put in the effort have failed because their lack of study not class background- refuting marxists.

More Criticisms of Marxists:

  • Feminists disagree and argue that education creates gender inequaltiy more than class inequality. I.e. Stanworth argues that teachers encourage boys to go into higher education to get a job because they are seen as more clever.
    Colley argues that in ICT and Science boys dominate- girls left to feel uncofrotable and teachers do little about this
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