Sociology Revision- Unit 2

revision for exam :) 


Internal or External factors?

Internal- Within the education system and school. 

External- anything which lies outside of the school. 

1 of 7

Cultural or Material factors?

Cultural factors- These include class diferences in norms and values which is done through socialisation, attitudes to education and speech codes etc.

Material factors- These are the physical necessities of life, such as adequate diet, housing and income. 

2 of 7

Cultural Deprivation Theory:

'Culture' refers to all the norms, values, beliefs, skills and knowledge that a society or a  group regards as important.

This culture is transmitted to the next generation through socialisation. 

Different social classes socialise thier children differently and this may affect thier achievement in education.

According to this theory, some working- class parents fail to transmit the appropriate norms, values, attitudes, knowledge, skills etc- that is, the 'right' culture- needed for educational sucess. 

Cultural deprivation theorists see three factors as responsible for working-class under-achievement; a lack of intellectual stimulation, the restricted speech code and working-class subculture. 

3 of 7

Intellectual stimulation:

Working-class parents are much more likely to give thier children educational toys and activities that will stimulate thier thinking and reasoning skills, and less likely to read to them. This affects thier intellectual development so that when they begin school they are at a disadvantage compared with middle-class children who have had more stimulation.

4 of 7

Speech Codes:

Bernstein (1975) distinguishes between elaborated and restricted speech codes:

The working class tend to use the restricted code. this is more descriptive and less critical, it has limited vocabulary and is formed of simple sentences or even just gestures. It assumes that the reader shares the particular meanings that the speaker holds, so the speaker doesnt spell them out.

The middle-class tend to use the elaborated code. This is more critical, with a wide vocabulary list and complex sentences. Speakers spell out thier meanings and dont just assume the listener understand what they are saying.

The elaborated code is used in education, by teachers, exam, textbooks, university interviewers etc, and this gives the middle-class an educational advantage.

5 of 7

Working-class Subculture:

Cultural deprivation theorists identify three aspects of working-class subculture that contribute to under-achievement:

  • Immediate gratification- this means wanting rewards now, rather than being willing to make sacrifices and working hard for future rewards- unlike the delayed gratification practised by the middle-class.
  • Fatalism- this is a belief that 'whatever will be, will be'. Working-class childen dont beleive they can improve thier position through thier own individual efforts.
  • Low value on education- Hyman arguesthat the working-class dont value education (and dont beleive they will benefit from it), so they dont try. Douglas argues that working-class parents show less interest in thier children's education and give them less support; e.g. they are less likely than middle-class parents to attend parents' evenings.  
6 of 7

Criticisms of the Cultural Deprivation theory:

  • It ignores the importance of material factors, such as poverty.
  • It ignores the impact of school factors such as negative labelling to pupils by teachers.
  • It blames the victim for thier failure. Critics argue that the working-class are not culturally deprived- they simply have a different culture from the school and this puts them at a disadvantage.
7 of 7




wow its like reading my text book online ;) x

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »