AQA AS Sociology Unit 2 Education Revision



A consensus theory that education as a key factor in a functioning society.


Shared Values Education creates well-rounded individuals that can fit smoothly into society as the National Curriculum teaches us shared norms and values, e.g. English gives us a common language and Maths teaches logical thinking. This promotes social solidarity. General criticisms of this theory are that Durkheim assumes that society has a singular shared culture that can be transmitted through education; this may not be true or easy in societies such as our own that are multicultural. Marxists suggest that it is not norms and values of society that the education system shared but rather the ideology of the bourgeoisie.


Education as a Bridge Schools take over from the family when it comes to socialising children. It aids the development of individuals, prepares them for the world of work and acts as a ‘bridge’ between family socialisation and adulthood. Education helps the child’s transition into meritocracy (the idea that anyone can achieve as long as they want to, regardless of their background) and gives a universal value of achievement to work towards as opposed to the approval of their family they had previously being working for. General criticisms of this theory are that it assumes everyone can achieve and does not take into consideration individual and class differences that may affect achievement.

Role Allocation The education system acts as a mechanism to prepare students for their future roles within society. He goes on to explain that this is done through the use of exams and evaluations that match the students’ talents, skills and capacities, to the jobs for which they are best suited.

Davis and Moore:

Stratification Similarly to Parsons, Davis and Moore believed the education system to be an important mechanism in role allocation, however, they also believed that by stratifying students (sifting, sorting and grading them) the system ensures that the most talented and able students end up in the jobs that are thought to be functionally more important as they have gained the qualifications necessary to have those jobs as an opportunity. General criticisms of this include that the relationship between academic credentials and occupational reward is actually very small. Interatctionists would suggest that the education system does not separate us in terms of ability but rather based on our social class.



A conflict theory that views the education system as a means of maintaining capitalism and preparing the future capitalist workforce.

Bowles and Gintis:

Reproduction of Labour Power through The Hidden Curriculum They believe that there is a close correspondence between the social interactions we experience in school and those in the workforce. In addition to lessons we are also taught behaviours simply through going to school; we are not aware we are being taught these subjects. For instance we are taught the importance of punctuality. The Hidden Curriculum shapes us in 4 ways:

Creating a Subservient Workforce – Acceptable behaviour


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