The Role of Education- Functionalism and New Right

The Role of Education- Functionalist and New Right Perspectives AS AQA Revision Cards

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  • Created by: Pheebie
  • Created on: 17-02-12 16:05

Functionalist - Social Solidarity & Specialist Ski

Durkenheim (1903)

Social Solidarity- People see schools as being part of a single body, it acts as a 'society in miniature'. Preparing for life after school and the wider society.

Specialist Skills:- Education teaches pupils the specialist knowledge they need to play there part in the division of labour 


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Functionalist - Meritocracy

Talcott Parsons (1961)- Meritocracy 

The family and society operate differently so a child needs educating on how to operate within society. Within a family a child is judged on particularistic standards in society they will be judged on universalistic and impersonal standards. Likewise the persons status will be achieved and not ascribed in both school and society.

In meritocracy, everyone achieves the same through their own effort and ability.


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Functionalist - Role Allocation

Davis & Moore (1945)

Education is a device for role allocation-the most important roles are filled by the most talented people and therefore reproduces social inequality. Not everyone is talented enough for them and therefore people compete for these jobs ensuring the most talented get them. Education 'sifts and sorts' us according to ability. The most able gain the highest qualifications and therefore get the most important and highly rewarded jobs. 

Blau & Duncan (1978) 

The meritocratic does the best at allocating people to jobs where they can do the best.


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Functionalist- Evaluation of Perspective

Tumin (1953) 

Criticises Davis & Moore for putting down a circular argument: "Why are jobs more important?" "Because they're highly rewarded" "Why are they highly rewarded?" "Because they're more important"

 Wrong (1961)

Functionalists don't show why people reject schools values- they show people as society's puppets


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New Right- Consumer Choice

Chubb & Moe (1990)

  • Disadvantaged Groups:- Badly served by state education- failing to create equal opportunity.
  • Inefficient as it fails to produce skills needed for economy.
  • Private schools get better results because they're answerable to paying consumers- parents. 

Chubb and Moe want a voucher system so schools can meet their own needs and improve quality and efficiency. They would be the main source of the schools income the 'customers' of the school would be attracted by improved 'product'.  

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New Right- Evaluation

  • Gerwitz & Ball:- Competition benefits the middle classes.
  • Critics argue real cause of low educational standards isn't state control but social inequality and inadequate funding of state schools.
  • Contradiction lies between increased parental choice and a national curriculum.
  • Marxists:- Educational doesn't impse a national culture, as New Right argue, but imposes the culture of dominant minority ruling class.


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