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Using information from the items and elsewhere, assess the Marxist view that education benefits the ruling class

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Introduction

Using information from the items and elsewhere, assess the Marxist view that education benefits the ruling class Marxism is a structuralist perspective with the economy as its foundation. As such, the Marxist view focuses on the idea that it is the economy that drives the rest of society and in relation to education, it is suggested by the Marxist idea that education benefits the ruling class by weaving ruling class values into the education system. One of the main ways Marxists, and in particular Althusser, argue that this occurs is through what is known as the hidden curriculum; that is, values and attitudes that we learn in school as opposed to the material we are actively taught. Marxists argue that what we encounter in the so called hidden curriculum prepares us for the world of work for example through hierarchies and obedience to those who are above us in them. This almost conditions us to the idea of either having someone to report to or obey or having people who do those things to us depending on our position, which benefits the ruling class as on a very basic level it ensures acceptance for these methods later in the world of work. ...read more.

Middle

Without people operating the means of production, there would be no one for the ruling class to oversee. However times are changing, and factory jobs are rarer now. This creates a problem because if indeed children learn that their destiny is to be in this role, there are no longer enough jobs to support it. Furthermore, one could argue that the ruling class no longer have anything to rule over per se which suggests a change in how society must be viewed. Bowles and Gintis go beyond the hidden curriculum and have suggested a correspondence theory whereby meritocracy is seen to be a myth and that the education system works against the interests of the working class. There is arguably some merit to this as our education system, unlike that seen in mainland Europe for example, does little to support vocational education for those children who may not be so academically inclined. So there is a definite gap as a result of this which helps to create the ruling class as those who succeed academically in our system, leaving the rest to fit in around them (or below them according to hierarchies). ...read more.

Conclusion

allowing people to cross the divide as the Marxists might define it - people who, whilst at school, might have been "having a laff" in class now have the opportunity if they so desire to return to education later in life providing they have the motivation and willpower. This suggests that whilst we might be passive in schools, and that through hierarchies and acceptance of inequality we learn certain values which are common in today's society, it doesn't mean we necessarily become the person we are in school. The idea of a subservient workforce being created by our education system is in part supported by the likes of "The Lads", but that doesn't mean to say it will become the destiny for these subcultures forever. Following on from this, it can be said that education does benefit the ruling class according to Marxism, but the question has to be whether or not we do indeed have such definition between the supposed ruling class and those 'below' them anymore, or at least to the same extent as when Althusser, Bowles & Gintis proposed their ideas. Susannah Kitchen 19/11/07 ...read more.

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