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Marx and functionalist role of education

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Explain the similarities and differences on Functionalist and Marxist perspectives on the role of education. In this essay I will be explaining the similarities and differences between the perspectives Functionalist and Marxist's have on the role of education. A Functionalist perspective on the role of education sees education as contributing in several ways to the continued stability of society. Education has numerous functions (A term used by functionalists to describe the way in which a social institution contributes to the survival and well-being of society. McNeil 2003). These functions include: * The passing on of norms and values to the next generation. * The sharing of culture, creating a sense of identity within a community or society. * The distribution of people to different roles within society. There is a 'meritocracy' where the rewards go to the people with talent and ability and the ones who work for the rewards. Social background is not seen as important, it is accepted as fair by most people because of the teaching of a shared value system. ...read more.


school rules prepares them for rules at work when they are adults. Marxists think that schools and work are linked through the hidden curriculum. Althusser (1971) saw the main role of education in the capitalist society as the reproduction of a obeying labour force. He believed that this involved two aspects, the reproduction of the necessary technical skills and the reproduction of ruling class ideology. Another Marxist Paul Willis (1977), recognised that at most secondary schools the students do not obey to school rules, they don't listen to teachers and that they can be disruptive and challenge the school. There are similarities between the Marxist and Functionalist perspectives on the role of education. One similarity is that both see schools as playing a role in the justification of social inequality. They are both 'macro' theories, they both take into account the structural relationship between education and other parts of the social system like social inequality and class. Marxist and Functionalist theories both see education as accepting to the needs of a capitalist and/or industrial society. ...read more.


Whereas Marxists think education explains social class inequality by persuading working class people to accept their lack of potential and control at work and in society as a whole is because of their lack of academic ability, effort and achievement. To conclude Functionalist and Marxist views on the role of education share some similarities like they both see education as an influence on students to conform to society's values and norms. And they both have different views on education, functionalists believe education provides a meritocracy among classes whereas Marxists believe there is no meritocracy. I think Functionalism tries to create a more stable view of education, that it can create meritocracy and that education serves the needs of the social system by teaching shared norms and values to the new generations, leading to social harmony. Whereas Marxism sees that capitalism and the ruling class use education to make others conform to how they want society to be, and creating obedient members of society to conform to the ruling class ideology and therefore helping a capitalist society survive. WORDS: 867 ...read more.

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