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Sociology Essay: Where should we look to explain working class failure?

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Sociology essay: Where should we look to explain working class failure? From a consensus perspective societies are held together by a common interest between the people therefore society's institutes like schools serve this function i.e. everyone's interests. From a conflict perspective society is viewed very differently, it's seen as a power battle between rich/poor and powerful/weak. They also view society's institutes in this way e.g. schooling does not serve everyone's interests according to the needs of society but instead serves the interests of the middle class and the powerful. Parents and peers influence academic achievement a great deal the parents values and language skills and the level of education they received has a great deal to do with how they view their Childs educational attainment. The parents economic position influences how the children are brought up many parents who live in poor housing and are unemployed and not very well educated pay less of an interest and encourage there children to do well a lot less than middle class parents. ...read more.


In a large scale study by J.W.B Douglas which traced the educational careers of 5,000 British children from birth to aged 16. Middle class parents were more likely to visit the school to discuss their children's progress. They were also more likely to want their children to stay on beyond the leaving age and encourage them to do so. Children's pre-school years are important seeing them as a major influence on the early years of schooling. A Childs performance at the start of their educational career is often reflected throughout the secondary school. The most important factor accounting for educational attainment appeared to be the degree of parent's interest in their children's education, cause if this middle class have a decided advantage over working class children. The disadvantages of poverty are passed on from one generation to the next; growth in relative poverty is reflected in a widening of the gap in educational qualifications between the poor and the rest of society. ...read more.


Thus if others respond to a person as if she were bright or dull, she would tend to see herself as such. People can be labelled by others as a certain type of person, an idiot, a high achiever so on. If the label sticks, if everybody sees the person concerned in terms of the label, a self fulfilling prophecy will tend to develop. The person will be likely to see himself in terms of the label and act accordingly. Both analysis are 'deterministic' (i.e. mechanic) in the way they describe pupils behaviour as being passive e.g. working class failure results from pupils choice to celebrate their culture and rebel against the middle class culture of the school. They do not fail simply because the school devalues them (Marxist view) pupils also do not fail simply because their parents don't socialise them to succeed (functionalist view) Willis claims that it is not enough for sociologists to study the way society shapes the individual they must also understand the meanings and choices that people make. Although people don't choose the world their born into they do make their own history i.e. lives with that. ...read more.

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