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

Examine the Marxist view that the role of the education system is to reproduce and justify the existing class structure.

Extracts from this document...


Examine the Marxist view that the role of the education system is to reproduce and justify the existing class structure. In this essay I am going to examine the Marxist view that the role of the education system is to reproduce and justify the existing class structure. Marxists see the educational system as a mechanism for maintaining class inequalities, for example the reproduction of the capitalist system. The capitalist system is one where by the rich (the bourgeoisie) stay rich and the poor (the proletariat) stay poor. Marxists do not believe in meritocracy, this is where the educational system gives equal opportunities to everyone despite their background. They believe that education is designed to help and benefit the bourgeoisie. They believe that schools and teachers reject working class pupils and so the working class pupils will not perform to their highest capabilities. Bowles and Gintis were two Marxists who did not agree with meritocracy. They believed that your social class determined how you would end up in life, for example if you were middle class the teachers would spend more time with you, thus encouraging you to stay on in further education and receive better qualifications and a better job. ...read more.


In this case it was the pupils obeying the teachers and the teachers giving authority. This ensures authority and control throughout the school. It also prepares students for their later roles in the work place. They believe that children are only motivated by external rewards, for example at school you receive qualifications and at work you receive wages. Pupils gain little enjoyment from studying the actual subjects but learn to put up with it so they can gain the external rewards. This prepares them for work because work in a capitalist society is boring so workers are motivated by an external reward: their wages. Also, schools are structured so that fragmentation of subjects is the norm as pupils move from one subject to another through the day. This also prepares students for work as it is usually structured the same way, as individuals have specific tasks and are denied knowledge of how the overall productive process works. This ensures that the workforce are easier to control. ...read more.


The lads more importantly, attached little or no value to the academic work of the school and had no interest in gaining qualifications. This led to them ending up in working class jobs. Willis argues his students were not like those of Bowles and Gintis as it was evident they were not docile and obedient. Instead, they openly rejected the belief that hard work and striving for individual success can bring worthwhile rewards. Willis also points out however that this rejection of the school values is actually the pupils downfall as it was ultimately reproductive ie. They ended up in manual jobs as a result of having no qualifications. The lads rejection of school makes them the victims of a system where their labour will be exploited in the workplace. Criticisms of the Marxist view are that they are too deterministic. They also ignore the influence of the formal curriculum, and the Marxists place too much blame on the teachers. Also functionalists argue that education performs certain essential functions that no other institute could. They also believe in meritocracy, that the brightest people will get the best jobs and the people who were not so bright ended up in working class jobs. ...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. The Marxist view of education

    If the capitalists are to keep making profit they need a motivated workforce that is eager to earn a wage. They also note the fragmentation of the curriculum. This aspect of education corresponds to the fragmentation of the workforce. Bowles and Gintis believe that most jobs in factories and offices

  2. a) With reference to the Items and elsewhere, assess the view that the introduction ...

    So school is the beginning of the person's life and their role within it. The school carries the child out of the family into the society. The hidden curriculum is the method and extra taught in education to benefit the pupils later in life.

  1. Higher Education in the USA. Finishing school is the beginning of ...

    And, as in the past, this change may be leading in unexpected directions. The Puritans set up colleges to train ministers. But their students made their mark as the leaders of the world's first constitutional democracy. The land grant colleges were founded to teach agriculture and engineering to the builders of the American West.

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

    They claim that the child learns to study at school to achieve good grades because that will provide them with a better job when they leave rather than learning for learnings' sake. A similar picture is seen in the workplace, the employee works in a meaningless job for financial necessity rather than personal enjoyment.

  1. 'Education is a tool of the ruling class'- Discuss.

    In the 70s however, the new right were convinced that education wasn't fulfilling it's role well enough therefore in response to this the Conservative Government developed the 'new vocationalism.' Allocating people to the most appropriate job Functionalists argue that education is a meritocracy.

  2. Examine the ways in which educational policies may reproduce and justify social class inequalities

    By the time of the Second World War there was a huge divide between the type of secondary education available for the upper classes and the lower classes. The Education Act, or the Butler Act as it commonly known, was set up to try and combat these inequalities and make

  1. "Society originates because the individual is not self sufficient and no two of us ...

    Those that make it right through the education system are the philosopher kings who are bound by rational desires of the soul. They are fully "virtuous" and "knowledgeable"36 and C.Reeve argues that the education process will make them distribute the benefits of this knowledge among the citizens whilst ruling.

  2. Comment on the strength and weakness of the social security system in Hong Kong

    The government continued to take more parts in the social welfare, its spending on the allowances kept on increasing rapidly And in 1992, the government issued a consultation paper on the set up of a community-wide retirement protection system in Hong Kong.

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