Theoretical Perspectives of Education

Revision cards on theoretical perspectives on education for AS sociology

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  • Created by: Amy
  • Created on: 05-04-08 11:59

Functionalists ideas on education

Also known as the concensus theory.

functionalist approach is mostly interested in discovering how education helps the maintain the social system. Functionalists also examine the relationship between education and other social institutions such as the family and the economy.

According to functionalists there are two main functions performed bu the education system that could be referred to as:

  • Social - socialisation and social control
  • Economic - learning skills for the workplace and role allocation for our future role in the workforce.

Durkeim and Parsons and the place of education in society are very influential.

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Emile Durkeim (1858-1917)

Key Concepts:

  • Secondary Socialisation-takes place within educational institutions and includes acquisisition of knowledge and skills needed for work.
  • Social Control- encouraging conformity through social values using sanctions.
  • Sanctions- positive or negative sanctions may be given to encourage individuals to conform to societys norms and value.
  • Norms-Social rules, standards or expectations that govern the behaviour expected in particular situations. May be informal or formal
  • Values-Ideas and beliefs about general principles or goals.
  • Social Solidarity- a feelingof belonging to a group.
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Marxists and Feminists

Marxists and feminists and to some extent the new right also refer to the functions of the education system. Although they have similarities with functionalism they are not functionalists and are usually more negative about the role of education in society.

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