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

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Shawda Aziz Sunday, 24 November 2013 Assess the view that the main function of education is to reproduce and legitimise social inequality. (20 marks) This is a classic debate in sociology between gender, class and ethnicity. In this essay, I will analyse the theories relating to this issue. The social class structure is reproduced in several ways, in society. An example of this is through education. Many theorists believe that the pivotal function of education is not to educate the younger generation, but to replicate the social class structure from one generation after the other, in order to legitimise social hierarchy. Marxists and feminists assume such an idea. On the contrary, functionalists believe that educational institutions provide societal needs and are needed for the maintenance of society. Certainly, many contrasting opinions have been expressed by different sociologists and explanations are made to justify their point of view. Marxists adopt the idea that education serves the needs of the economic foundation of society, along with other principles such as family, mass media, religion and politics. Without education and the listed ideals as a superstructure, society would collapse when only the means of production existing as the economic base. ...read more.

Middle

Definitively, this suggests that educational institutions are majorly controlled by male figures and are used to maintain the patriarchal dominance which is currently present within society. This is done by the process of canalisation and gender role socialisation. Pupils are encouraged to partake in subjects and activities according to their gender, for instance female students are likely to be pushed into doing subjects shadowing domestic skills such as food technology and male students may take up manual labour-related subjects e.g. woodwork. This means that pupils are socialised with skills which are taught from the subjects which are then used in the future, e.g. a woman having the major domestic roles within a household and a man working manual jobs. This emphasis on gender role allocation is what legitimises social inequality and reproduces it. However, this view upon education cannot be taken completely into consideration as evidence shows that females are performing better in education than males, suggesting that this theory needs to be updated. There as various explanations for this, an example being the introduction of coursework which has shown to be more favourable by female students. ...read more.

Conclusion

A model of this is the organic analogy which assumes that every individual of society has a role in order for it to run smoothly; this is personified into the different components of a human body ? different organs are needed in order to complete different jobs. In addition, education offers individuals with opportunities to find out their main skills, which are then sorted accordingly and allocated into an occupational role within the division of labour. This also links with the organic analogy, suggesting there are several different jobs available within society. Furthermore, the government have made multiple changes in order to prevent social inequality, for instance the introduction of EMAs which was to help students from low income families to cover college costs so that they do not have to manage a job at the same time and can afford all of the resources needed for their course. In conclusion, different theorists have opposing views upon the main function of education being to reproduce and legitimise social inequality. Marxists and feminists portray education as being a negative aspect of society which merely promotes social inequality and social class and gender role reproduction. However, functionalists have a contrasting opinion as they believe that differences in social class or status are required as different members of society possess different roles (organic analogy). ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and assess Functionalist explanations of the role of the education system.

    4 star(s)

    Working together with the principle of meritocracy, functionalists see the education system as an institution which provides the members of society with the benefit of working hard to achieve in life. Davis and Moore see the existence of a hierarchical qualification system as positive, - providing employers with the ability

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

    no longer feel that they belong to classes because these supposed classes include a big variety of people i.e. some low paid jobs have higher status than better paid jobs. They explain the death of class in the terms of the increasing importance of educational qualifications in shaping your status.

  1. Outline and assess sociological explanations for class inequality.

    They argue that class conflict is an essential part of a capitalist society and they state that it is impossible to introduce reforms which would lessen the inequality produced by capitalism. The Marxists argue that class is determined by an individual's relationship to means of production and state that inequality is the result of a person's class.

  2. Assess the view that the main aim of social policy has been to reduce ...

    However, The 11+ exam was seen to be biased in favour of middle class children (as it was written by the middle class)

  1. sociology of education

    This would give a parent a base of information to enable them to choose the best school for their child. However just as in the 1988 education act where not everybody realistically had an equal choice the same problems would arise, and rather than create meritocracy, there would still be children who were disadvantaged.

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

    Without social solidarity everyone would be selfish and society would break down. For social solidarity to be present in society value consensus must be maintained, therefore it can be argued that value consensus is one of the main functions of education.

  1. Changes in the social structure of education and its impact on class and gender ...

    Yates and Pidgeon (1957) argued that approximately 70,000 children each year were wrongly allocated because of administrative errors in the examination and disproportionately penalised working class children. The Early Leaving Report in 1954 showed that over half of working

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

    There was a survey which was conducted in the year 2000 by the Cambridge student newspaper. It found that one in five of students at Cambridge had a parent who had studied there, while 40% had a close family who went to Oxbridge.

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