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The function of Education is to develop and reinforce social solidarity.

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Introduction

The function of Education is to develop and reinforce social solidarity. This statement is a statement that would be said by someone who believes in functionalism, but what is functionalism? Functionalism is about the structure and workings of society. Functionalists see society as made up of inter-dependent sections which work together to fulfill the functions necessary for the survival of society as a whole. People are socialized into roles and behaviours which fulfill the needs of society. Functionalists believe that behaviour in society is structural. They believe that rules and regulations help organize relationships between members of society. Values provide general guidelines for behaviour in terms of roles and norms. These institutions of society such as the family, the economy, the educational and political systems, are major aspects of the social structure. Institutions are made up of interconnected roles or inter-related norms. For example, inter-connected roles in the institution of the family are of wife, mother, husband, father, son and daughter. Durkheim was very interested in education. Partially this was because he was professionally employed to train teachers, and he used his ability to shape curriculum to further his own goals of having sociology taught as widely as possible. ...read more.

Middle

These structures are functional in the sense they assist society to operate and fulfill its functional needs so that the society runs smoothly. A society where there is no conflict, where everyone knows what is expected of them, and where these expectations are constantly being met, is in a perfect state of equilibrium. The key processes for Parsons in attaining this equilibrium are socialization and social control. Socialization is important because it is the mechanism for transferring the accepted norms and values of a society to the individuals within the system. Perfect socialisation occurs when these norms and values are completely internalized, that is they become part of the individual's personality. Parsons states, "this point, it should be made clear, is independent of the sense in which individual is concretely autonomous or creative rather than 'passive' or 'conforming', for individuality and creativity, are to a considerable extent, phenomena of the institutionalization of expectations", that is they are culturally constructed characteristics. Socialization is supported by the positive and negative sanctioning of role behaviours which do or do not meet these expectations A punishment could be informal, such as a snigger or gossip, or more formalized through institutions such as prisons and mental institutions. ...read more.

Conclusion

They also argue that the 'correspondence principle' explains how the internal organisation of schools corresponds to the internal organisation of the capitalist workforce in its structures, norms and values. For example, the hierarchy system in schools reflects the structure of the labour market, with the head teacher as the managing director, pupils fall lower down in the hierarchy. Wearing uniforms, and discipline is promoted as it would be in the workplace. Education provides knowledge of how to interact in the workplace and gives direct preparation for entry into the labour market. In conclusion functionalist face tough opposition about what they believe about the social structure of the education system and althogh the Marxists and feminists and all the other opponets argue againts what the functionalists say there is no right or wrong way to look at this no matter whether you look at this from a marxists view a feminist view or a functionalist view you will still find someone who disagrees with your view therefore overall there is some truth in what all the sociologist believe but so far there is not proof what so ever that one set of sociologist are right and the others are wrong. ...read more.

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