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

Marxist and functionalist perspective on education

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"Compare the Marxist and Functionalist perspectives of education." Marxists and Functionalists are both sociologist who look at the structuralist view of the world; individuals are like puppets on a string, manipulated by society. They also look at the bigger picture also known as the macro theory. Marxists and Functionalists both see the economy as a foundation; they analyse the relationship between the educational system and the economy. Functionalist and Marxist perspectives differ considerably in the way they view the relationship between education and the economy. Both perspectives agree that the education system provides society with certain functions, but they disagree about the purpose of these functions and more importantly, who benefits from them. Functionalists see society as being structured like a human body with many interrelated parts that function together to maintain a healthy whole. Therefore, as a body has a heart, lungs, and liver, and so on, society has Education, the Family, and the Economy, and so on. Emile Durkheim (1903) was the first functionalists and he believed in social order, which means that society has shared norms, values and expectations and everybody performs their roles in society. Emile Durkheim argued that society needs a sense of solidarity; individuals need to feel part of a community. He argued that without social solidarity, community life and teamwork would be impossible because individuals would chase their own selfish desires. ...read more.

Middle

Davis and Moore (1945) came up with the theory "role allocation"; allocating us jobs according to our skills and abilities. They believe that social inequality keeps the economy going ensuring that the most talented people fill the most important roles. Education therefore sifts and sorts and grades people in terms of ability, which is rewarded in exam success, those with the most ability, are then rewarded in society in terms of economic rewards to ensure the best people fill the most functionally important roles. Blau and Otis (1978) equally argue that our modern economy depends on using its "human capital", it workers skill, in order to flourish. They put across the idea that a meritocratic education system does this best, since it enables each person to be allocated the most suitable job. The economy depends on strong skills produced by competition. Functionalist says we are all equal, it may well be that qualified status such as sex, race, class is a more important factor in educational success and that the meritocratic principles of the education system may be beliefs to legitimate actual inequalities in society that the education system helps to reproduce. Tumin (1953) asks 'how do we know what makes a good job? Because it's highly rewarded? Why some jobs are more highly rewarded than others? Because they are more important!' ...read more.

Conclusion

Functionalists argue that schools operate meritocratically, however Althusser argues that this is merely ideology that makes people believe that the education system is fair when really it serves the interests of the ruling class because they control the education system. In school we are socialised into believing that schools operate on meritocratic principles, this ideology pacifies us and we do not see that the education system is really unfair and serves to reproduce the inequalities of society and the relations of production that benefit the capitalist class. Bowles and Gintis (1976) argue that achievement in school and a pupil's life chances are determined to a great extent by their family background, their class. Schooling takes place in the form it does in order to effectively prepare pupils for their future role as workers under capitalism. This preparation is achieved through the 'hidden curriculum.' They also argue that the hidden curriculum closely mirrors many features of the workplace. For example pupils do what they are told by the teachers, same way the employee does what the employer tells him to do. Bowles and Gintis also argue that the educations system furthermore helps to preserve and justify the system of social inequality in capitalist societies. It helps the subject class come to terms with their position in society, creating the idea of 'false consciousnesses.' Therefore, Bowles and Gintis eliminate the idea of Davis and Moore that social class inequalities occur from reasonable amount of competition. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sociology Education Zuhra Abukar Y18666 - 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)

    The assumption made by the Functionalists is that the purpose of the education system is to stabilise economy through the allocation of less able workers into less skilled jobs. This is through producing a trained and highly skilled workforce. The 80's and 90's saw the introduction of policies to encourage vocational education, such as TVEI, GNVQ's, NVQ's and work experience.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Comparison Of Marxist And Functionalist Views On Education

    3 star(s)

    This would be done through education, by enforcing a sense of belonging to society, and that society is more important than the individual. The Education system basically provides a link into society for people, and then commits them to it, above all else.

  1. Compare and contrast the Marxist and Functionalist views on the role of education in ...

    This then prepares them for the workforce, by accepting things, which they have little control over, and learning to obey their supervisors or managers, which they may be working for. Another part of the hidden curriculum is the pupils learn to be motivated by rewards, just as the workforce in a capitalist society is motivated by external rewards.

  2. The Marxist view of education

    Some sociologists criticise the views of Bowles and Gintis. Hickox being one of them. He states that the capitalists had workers that did what they were told and this was not due to the education system as there wasn't one (1800- 1870). The education system was set up after industrialisation.

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

    It transmits common values (generation by generation) that is crucial to the maintenance of social order in society. Parsons in particular argued the point that school was a bridge that acted between the family and the wider society. Its role was to promote universal values i.e.

  2. Assess the role of education form the functionalist perspective

    An example of this is in American schools where pupils sing the national anthem and pledge their allegiance to the flag everyday by making tem feel part of the American society. According to functionalists, school is society in miniature, where pupils have to get on with strangers and where they

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

    Therefore the employee works purely for economic needs rather than actual interest and the elite, the owners of the company maintain profit gain and control This organisation of production in capitalist society can be seen as reflected in the structure of the education system.

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

    Marx observed that as opposed to Durkheim's functualist theory of society working in harmonious union, the conflict of various groups was in fact the moving force in society, with the economic structure being the basis of the separation of the groups in society.

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