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Evaluate the Marxist Perspective on Education.

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Evaluate the Marxist Perspective on Education Marxists such as Louis Althusser, Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis refute the Functionalist view that industrial capitalist societies are meritocracies and that every ones' position in society is based on talent and hard work. They suggest ideas for why this is the case. Althusser bases his theory around the idea of education being an ideological state apparatus. Bowles and Gintis' theory is based on the 'long shadow of work' and the legitimation of inequality. When speaking of the 'long shadow of work', Bowles and Gintis are referring to the strong relationship between social relationships at school and at work - they believe this helps education to play it's major role in reproducing a labour force with hardworking, disciplined workers. ...read more.


This helps capitalism by preparing students for their future jobs. The working class are taught to accept their future exploitation in the workplace. Whereas the middle class are prepared for management roles supported by their academic qualifications. However, these views from the Marxists are merely ideas and theories, as none of them put forward evidence to prove their theory of education, this is a huge weakness in their argument. Neo-Marxism offers a counter argument to that of Bowles and Gintis and Althusser. Paul Willis did research in a school and he claims that schools do not produce an obedient and hardworking workforce. He studied a group of twelve working class boys and found they had a counter sub-culture. ...read more.


There are also many limitations to Bowles and Gintis and Althusser's arguments. Firstly it could be said that they exaggerate the supposed link between education and work. They perceive students as very accepting of what they are told and unable to think for themselves, which is not necessarily true as many students do misbehave and disrespect students. The Marxist approach to education is a very negative. Due to the complete lack of research it is easy to question the feasibility of their claims. They believe that education maintains and perpetuates capitalism as it creates the myth that society and the education system is meritocratic. However, it is difficult to believe that students accept everything they are told as Bowles and Gintis would like us to believe. This shows that although Willis' research may have some truth in it, it is too limited to be considered as entirely correct. ...read more.

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