Assessing Functionalist and Marxist Perspectives

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Similarities between Marxist and Functionalist Perspectives:

  • Both think schools help legitimize social inequality
  • Both are “macro” theories, so they look at the effect of education in the context of the rest of society, it can determine the rest of society with beliefs, values and skills.
  • Both see education serving the needs of the workplace
  • Both see education as being a powerful way to influence students, i.e social values and norms

Differences between Marxist and Functionalist Perspectives:

Functionalism Marxism Education serves the needs of industrial society, by an advanced division of labour. Education serves capitalist society by dividing people into social classes. Education serves the needs of the social system by socializing pupils to shared values, norms and beliefs. This leads to great social solidarity. Education serves the needs of capitalism by socializing children into the dominant ideology (those of the ruling class), this means a more obedient workforce, thus…


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