Sociology: Education and research methods
Major functions of education functionalist perspective
1. Education acts as an agent of secondary socialisation. Durkhein noted the importance of education in preventing anomie. It transmits the norms and values of society. Without these similarities, co-operation, social solidarity and there, social life would be impossible. Education re-in forces the norms and values we learn in the family
2. It teaches children to interact outside their families. In other words, to develop instrumental relationships as opposed to affective relationships which are what families are based upon.
3. Parsons argues that education instils values of competition, equality and individualisation which are crucial to the functions of capitalism. According to him, education teaches children to value achieve status rather than ascribed status by the family.
4. Education helps the economy. Durkhein argues that education teaches individual skills which are necessary for future careers. Parsons argues that school acts as a bridge between the family and the world of work. School acts as a miniature society based on meritocratic principles (Status achieved on merit). School is a major mechanism for role allocation.
5. Schools act as a form of social control.
Criticisms and evaluation of the Functionalist view
· It assumes that society has a shared culture which we can transmit through the education system.
· A Marxist might say “whose norms and values are they?” (They belong to the ruling capitalist class)
· Some sociologists questioned whether schools actually encourage social solidarity or actually encourage competition and individuality.
· Parsons view that education is based on meritocracy can also be questioned. For example, Marxists claim that it is based on an ‘illusion of meritocracy”. It has nothing to do with intelligence or hard work. It is more to do with who you know.
The Marxist view of education
· Education, according to Neo-Marxist Althusser, is used as an ideo-logical tool. It is used to indoctrinate (brainwash or manipulation) people.
· It legitimises (justifies) exploitation by the ruling capitalist class.
· It crushes any rebellious instinct.
· The hidden curriculum transmits norms + values such as obedience and respect for authority whilst quashing free thought punishment.
Bowles & Gintis
The correspondence principle
· Bowles and Gintis are two American neo-Marxists.
· In their book ‘schooling in capitalist America’ they refer to the correspondence principle. By this they mean that the world of school corresponds to the world of work.
· They say that the major role of education in capitalist societies’ is the reproduction of labour power.
· Education provides future workers and acts as a sieve. In other words, it separates the good from the bad.
· According to Bowles and Gintis the correspondence principle provides the key to understanding the workers of the education system. They see education as subservient to the needs of those who control the work force.
Vocational = Very career…