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

Examination of the Functionalist view that schools serve the interests of both society and individuals.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Examination of the Functionalist view that schools serve the interests of both society and individuals. The functionalist perspective is that society consists of institutions that are required to perform functional pre-requisites that are necessary for society to function. Schools are one of these institutions, and contribute to society by educating children and providing them with the necessary skills needed in working life later on. Also, schools provide secondary socialisation, taking over from the family, to instil societies beliefs and values in children and this is important to maintain social order by ensuring value consensus. Functionalist Emile Durkheim saw this secondary socialisation as being the main function of the education system. He looks at social solidarity, which teaches children a commitment to society and expresses the sense of the social unit being more important than the individual. Schools teach social solidarity through such things as assemblies, sports days, and in Durkheim's research in America, through saluting the flag before school. Durkhiem also sees the teaching of history in schools as being vital to creating solidarity, all of these giving children a sense of commitment and identity. Durkheim also looked at how schools teach social rules and how the school is a 'society in miniature'. ...read more.

Middle

It therefore serves both the needs of society by maintaining consensus and harmony and also the interests of the individual who receives a fair education with as equal an opportunity to do well as their peers. Marxists, however, criticise the functionalist viewpoint and would argue that this stance ignores the inequality in society. It disagrees with the idea that education acts as a neutral sifting process where ability is the only factor regarding achievement. They would argue that social class is very much an influencing factor in success and that no equality of opportunity exists within education. Bowles and Gintis argue that the main function of the education system is to ensure adequate labour power for the capitalist class. Also they believe that education is subservient to the needs of the dominant class and due to this there is a great level of correspondence between what occurs in schools through the hidden curriculum and what happens in the workplace. This is referred to as Bowles and Gintis' 'Correspondence theory'. There are four main correspondences that are highlighted, firstly, that schools produce subservience and the education system is set so that those who conform do well whereas those who do not, do badly. ...read more.

Conclusion

Willis theory on education is similar to Bowles and Gintis in that there are correspondences between the workplace and education but it is not as deterministic and shows that it is possible for the individual to resist capitalism. The main criticisms of Willis findings are that it involved only a small sample, all of who were male, and therefore cannot be used to generalise for the whole population. Also as the study involved participant observation the subjects were therefore aware of the study and as such may have acted differently under this situation. Overall the education system does appear to benefit society, be it a meritocratic society from the functionalist view, or a capitalist society from the Marxist perspective. It provides society with an educated workforce and, whether they are right or wrong, teaches the norms and values of society. However whilst functionalists argue that the individuals interests are served well by the education system it seems that their idea of education does not truly exist and that equality of educational opportunity is not prevalent and thus the interests of individuals could be better served in a system that is free from discrimination on the basis of gender, class or ethnicity. ?? ?? ?? ?? Becky Screech 1 ...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 Work & Leisure 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 Work & Leisure essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Critically Evaluate the Functionalist Perspective on Education

    5 star(s)

    With the exception of a few individuals, Marxists feel that education confirms individuals' class status as their class of destination. Therefore education is a means of reproduction of the present class inequalities from generation to generation, and in doing this shows there is no means of upward social mobility as the Functionalists claim.

  2. 'The function of education is to reproduce and legitimate social inequality. Discuss.'

    The education system legitimates the inequality by justifying it in people's mind that their poverty deems them powerless and that their social fate is inevitable, thus they accept their position and become defeatist. Hence there is little opposition to ruling class domination and sustaining the elite in their position of power.

  1. What are the strengths and weakness of the conflict perspective in Sociology? Illustrate how ...

    Hoping that in making the poor more comfortable, they would not revolt against the system that provides for them. The corporations pay taxes and these taxes are then redistributed amongst society, in the form of social security benefits, education, etc.

  2. Functions of the family for individuals and for society

    These consist of capitalism education, politics and laws. The negative side of the Marxist theory is that; they rely on the stereotypical generalisation of the nuclear family, however, nowadays more family types exist. These are: extended, reconstituted, single-parent and single-sex relationships.

  1. Using material from Item A and elsewhere assess the contribution of functionalist sociology to ...

    they linked it more closely with closely with the social stratification system. The education system sifts, sorts, and grades individuals to their talents and abilities. It rewards the most able with better qualifications and therefore better jobs which are functionally more important to society.

  2. Assess the strengths and limitations of participant observation for the study of labelling in ...

    Gaining an insight into people's thoughts, actions and values means that the researcher can begin to properly understand what makes them behave the way they do and why. Participant observation enables the researcher to gain new information which could go against a hypothesis.

  1. Assess Functionalist and Marxist approaches to the relationship between education and economy.

    They concluded that those at the top deserve their power and privilege that that have achieved their status on merit and those at the bottom have themselves to blame. The education system efficiently disguises that economic success runs in the family and therefore rejects the Functionalists view between education and stratification.

  2. Sociological explanations of under achievement.

    placed on them by men and their aim is to bring equality between male and female also they believe education as an un equality made by male moreover they argue that women underachieve because education is made by males for males they believe that "Educational system as a reproducing gender

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