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Using material from Item A and elsewhere assess Marxist explanations of the role of education in society.

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Introduction

´╗┐Using material from Item A and elsewhere assess Marxist explanations of the role of education in society. Item A: Marxism is a conflict view that sees society as based on class divisions and exploitation. Education functions in the interests of the ruling class in a number of ways Althusser argues that education is an ideological state apparatus controlling people?s ideas, values and beliefs. In particular, education reproduces class inequality, failing each generation of working ? class pupils in turn. It also legitimates class inequality by producing ideologies that disguise its true cause. Education tries to convince people that inequality is inevitable and that failure is the fault of the individual.(c) Marxists argue that schooling takes place in ?the long shadow of work?. Other sociologists such as functionalists and the New Right disagree with Marxist explanations. They argue that education performs positive functions for society as a whole. Marxism is a conflict view that sees society as being based on class divisions and exploitation. Marxists argue that, In capitalist society there are two classes ? the ruling class (capitalists, or bourgeoisie) and the subject class (working class, or proletariat).The capitalist class own the means of production (land, factories, machinery etc) and make their profits by exploiting the labour of the working class.This creates class conflict that could threaten the stability of capitalism or even result in a revolution to overthrow it. ...read more.

Middle

The relationships and structures found in education mirror or correspond to those of work .However, Bowles and Gintis argue that this is a myth. In reality, success is based on class background, not ability or educational achievement. But by promoting the (untrue) claim that rewards are based on ability, the myth of meritocracy helps persuade workers to accept inequality and their subordinate position as legitimate. The curriculum principle operates through the hidden curriculum ? all the ?lessons? that are learnt in school without being directly taught. Through the everyday workings of the school, pupils accept hierarchy, competition, alienation etc. It becomes simply the normal way to think The education system helps to prevent people from recognising their exploited position and rebelling against the system, by legitimating class inequalities. It does this by producing ideologies (sets of ideas) that explain why inequality is fail, natural and / or inevitable. The education system creates many myths, including the ?myth of meritocracy?. Functionalists argue that education and the world of work are both meritocratic, because in their view everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve. Those who gain the highest rewards deserve them because they are the most able and hardworking. Bowles and Gintis reject the functionalist claim that education allocates the most talented people meritocratically to the most important and best ? rewarded roles. ...read more.

Conclusion

Not only does the education system function to provide a willing workforce for capitalism, but increasingly it does so while making profits for capitalists. Postmodernists argue that Marxism is out of date. The correspondence principle no longer operates or is at the very least too simplistic a view. Postmodernists argue that class divisions are no longer important in a post ? Fordist economic system that is now much more diverse and fragmented. They claim that where Marxists see inequality, there is really diversity and choice. Feminists argue that schools reproduce not only capitalism, but patriarchy too. Mc Robbie points out that females are largely absent from Willis? study. However, Willis? study has been the model for research into other educational inequalities, including gender, ethnicity and sexuality. Marxists disagree among themselves as to how reproduction and Legitimation take place. Bowles and Gintis take a deterministic vie and assume that pupils passively accept indoctrination. Willis rejects this simple ?brainwashing? view and shows how pupils may resist school and yet still end up in working ? class jobs. Romanticisation: Willis has been criticised for romanticising the ?lads?, presenting them as working ? class heroes despite their anti ? social behaviour and sexist attitudes. His study of only 12 boys in one school is also unlikely to be unrepresentative. Also in item A is states New Right disagree with Marxist explanations. They argue that education performs positive functions for society as a whole. . ...read more.

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