Education- Revision Notes/Key Sociologists (Whole Topic)


Role of Education 


  • Durkheim: Schools are society in miniature, teaches norms and values 
  • Parsons: Schools are the bridge between the family and society 
  • Davis and Moore: Schools allow for role allocation based on meritocracy 
  • Criticisms: Society is too diverse to share values, role allocation is not always correct 


  • Althusser: Schools legitimise class inequality through meritocracy/parentocracy (ideological state apparatus)
  • Bowles and Gintis: Schools correspond to the world of work (Correspondence Theory)
  • Criticisms: Schools teach students to be critical thinkers, hidden curriculum does not make all students obedient (Willis)

New Right 

  • Hargreaves: ‘Kentucky Fried Schooling’ schools have to compete for students and should be ran like businesses 
  • Chubb and Moe: Compared private and state schools, argued the education system should be managed privately 
  • Criticisms: Competition meant schools began to select students (Bowe, Ball and Gerwitz), Issues with Cultural Capital (Bourdieu), Parentocracy is unfair 

Social Class

  • Bernstein: Language Codes, Middle class teachers use elaborate code instead of restricted code with working class students 
  • Douglas: Cultural/Material Deprivation, Parental interest and living conditions both impact attainment 
  • Bourdieu: Cultural Capital, schools are middle class and so more middle class students succeed
  • Sugarman: Immediate and Deferred Gratification
  • Becker: Teachers label based on an ‘ideal pupil image’ 
  • Ball: Students were labelled based on their parents’ jobs/careers 


  • McRobbie: Bedroom Culture, girls


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