Functionalist Perspective on education

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Functionalism is concerned with the links between education and other social institiutions, such as the family and the work place. Additionally the functionalists see education as a important agency of socialisation (secondary socialisation) helping to maintain social stability throught the development of value consensus, social harmony and social cohesion.Furthermore, functionalists argue that education plays a key role in preparing young people for adult hood. 

Two important writers: Emilie Durkheim (1858-1917) & American sociologist Talcott Parsons. 

Four basic functions of education: 

1. Passing on societys culture and building social solidarity: Education meets a key functional prerequisite by passing on to new generations the central core values and culture of a society, achieved by both hidden curriculum and overt curriculum. This unites people together ands builds social solidarity by giving them value consensus and a shared culture. 

2. Providing a bridge between the particularistic values and ascribed status of the family and the universalistic values and achieved status of contemporary advanced societies: Durkheim:'school in minature.' Parsons: schools provide a bridge between particularisitic values and ascribed status of the family, and the universalistic values and achieved status of the contemporary societies which are based…


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