• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the claim that the main function of education is to maintain a value consensus in society

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Using material from Item A, and elsewhere, assess the claim that the main function of education is to maintain a value consensus in society (20 Marks) Education has a number of functions within society, value consensus being one of them. Value consensus is a term which refers to general agreement about norms and values amongst the members of society. Different theorists believe in different functions of the education system, some think it as promoting value consensus and some see otherwise. Functionalists and Marxists have opposing views on the function of education which I will discuss in my essay. I will refer to sources from Durkheim, Parsons, Davis & Moore, Althusser and Bowles & Gintis. Functionalists believe that education transmits society's norms and values and therefore promotes value consensus, with the educational and economic system working hand in hand to develop the skills required for the world of work. Emile Durkheim provides the basic framework of the functionalists view on the education system, agreeing with its function of transmitting norms and values. ...read more.

Middle

Education works as the bridge to develop universal standards and shared values (value consensus) from particularistic values we learn from primary socialisation in the home. Education helps to ease the transition and encourages us to value universalistic values. In summary, it can be argued again that value consensus is the main function of education as universalistic standards are built from value consensus (agreement about norms and values). However, Durkheim suggests that another main function of education is to teach specialist skills. Durkheim believes that education should provide pupils with necessary skills to enter work as each individual must have the necessary specialist knowledge and skills to be successful in the social division of labour. Parsons argues that schools also perform another function: that of selecting and allocating roles in preparation for a meritocratic society. As stated in item A education socialises children to adapt to a meritocratic principle (which refers to the idea that everyone has equal opportunity and can achieve as long as they work hard). ...read more.

Conclusion

They introduced the correspondence principle which suggests that there is a close link between schooling and work places in a capitalist society. Both school and work places are hierarchies with authority figures such as head teachers (schools) and bosses/managers (workplace). This correspondence principle operates through the hidden curriculum; pupils accept the unequal hierarchy of society. Therefore some sociologists would argue that infact the main function of education isn't entirely to maintain a value consensus in society. In conclusion, functionalists argue that value consensus is essential for the well being of society. Schools play a vital role by socialising young people into these basic values. In western societies, school stress the value of achievement and the importance of equal opportunity. For example, schools operate on meritocratic principles. Functionalists also see education as 'sifting and sorting' young people, matching them to the future work roles that suit their abilities. However, not all sociologists agree that the main function of education is to maintain a value consensus in society. Marxists argue that education transmits values that benefit the ruling class, not society as a whole. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification essays

  1. The education system is meritocratic

    who have cultural capital do the best which is proven year after year when GCSE and A-Level results are released. They are also disadvantaged in the way that they speak; Labov and Bernstein talk about speech codes and how these disadvantage the working class.

  2. Outline and Assess Whether stratification is either inevitable or beneficial to individuals and society?

    Karl Marx says that all stratified societies have two major classes, a ruling class and the subject class. In capitalists countries the ruling class are known as the capitalists or the bourgeoisie and the subject class are known as the workers or the proletariat.

  1. fabric of society

    The most feared according to BCS is burglary. Local surveys conducted by Lea and Young in Islington found that fear is related to high crime areas.

  2. Assess the claim that the main function of education is to maintain a value ...

    Also Durkheim's view has also been heavily criticised; * He assumes societies have a shared culture which is transmitted through education. Countries like Britain are now multi-cultured and it is debatable whether there is a single culture on which school base their curriculum * Marxists argue that education transmits a

  1. Assess the view that the main function of education is to reproduce and legitimise ...

    Linking to this example, the rise of divorces since the Divorce Reform Act of 1969 mean that the amounts of single-parent families are on the increase, especially female-headed, leading the pupil to be socialised into seeing their mother or caregiver as a role model.

  2. With reference to sociological theories and concepts, assess the view that the main feature ...

    It stresses that society have a natural need for law and order and that without such structured living, there would be severe anomie and chaos. However, this idea is not supported by other theories; for instance, the conflict theory emphasizes the role of coercion and power in producing social order.

  1. Outline and assess the view that the role of the education system is to ...

    On the other hand, Bourdieu?s critics say that he is vague in his operationalisation of cultural capital, and precisely how it impacts on education achievement is unclear. Critics also say that Bourdieu?s focus on cultural reproduction and the elimination of the working class from education implies that they are doomed

  2. The Contrasting Views of Education from the Marxists and Functionalists Perspective.

    Functionalists believe vocationalism is necessary, as someone must fill jobs within those criteria. Marxists have been critical of vocational schemes as they promote the idea that the ruling class receive an education and the working class receive training. Functionalists believe norms and values of society are implemented implicitly through the ?hidden curriculum?.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work