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Using the information you've learnt and your own knowledge assess functionalist approaches to the relationship between education and the economy.

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Using the information you've learnt and your own knowledge assess functionalist approaches to the relationship between education and the economy. In the following essay I am going to discuss Functionalist views on education and compare them to Marxist views on how they link to the economy and future job prospects. The essay will explore key ideas in the theory behind functionalism. To fully assess the Functionalist approach on education and economy I need to compare and contrast the ideas to an opposing view of the Marxist. The main theory behind functionalism is that society as a whole evolves around six main aspects and these are as follows : * Government * Religion * Law * Education * Family * Media From these six I am going to focus on Education. One of the functionalists' main views is that education is a meritocracy and a theorist by the name Talcott Parsons concluded this theory. Parsons was an American sociologist writing in the 1950s. He argued that schools act as a focal socialising agency, acting as a bridge between the family and society as a whole, and prepare children for their adult role. ...read more.


It rewards the most able with better qualifications and therefore better jobs that are functionally more important to society. Bowles and Gintis Marxist view is that the hidden curriculum shapes the future workforce in the following ways. It provides a subservient workforce by penalising creativity, aggressiveness and independence and rewarding perseverance consistency, dependability and punctuality. It also encourages acceptance of hierarchy. Students obey teachers, and this is reflected in the workplace where they obey their employers. At school students are encouraged by external reward just as a workforce in a capitalist society is rewarded by external rewards. School promotes fragmentation of the curriculum, this is reflected in the workplace where different people carry out specific tasks. Further more education makes society feel fair and just. The workers are socialised to believe that equality of opportunity exists and that the system is meritocratic, this is called the legitimisation of inequality. Marxists such as Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis would argue that the education system is meritocratic, and deny that this can become so with a capitalist framework. They reject the view that we all compete on equal terms and claim that the children of the wealthy and powerful tend to obtain highly rewarding jobs, irrespective of their abilities. ...read more.


Bowles and Gintis also claim that children of the wealthy and powerful have a higher chance of obtaining a higher and better-paid job. This rejects the Functionalist view by Parson that everyone has equal chances and this is disguised through the myth of meritocracy. Both groups state that education has different purposes. The Functionalists perspective states that schools' transmits society's norms and values. Bowles and Gintis Marxist view states that education's major role as the production of labour power. They agree that education transmits norms and values but of the workplace and through the hidden curriculum. There are elements in both arguments that can be interpreted as being right. I agree that a school transmits societies norms and values but I also believe that family and friends play an important part in transmitting values to the individual. I also reject the Functionalists view that school is meritocratic because not everyone has an equal chance and not everyone will achieve the same even if they have the same ability. Children of the ruling class always have greater chances and opportunities to develop and the structure of society ensures their continued opportunities. Alexander Ford Tutor : Chris Youle ...read more.

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