• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Do macro-sociological approaches or micro-sociological approaches tell us more about why some pupils under-achieve in school?

Extracts from this document...


Do macro-sociological approaches or micro-sociological approaches tell us more about why some pupils under-achieve in school? Macro-sociology approaches offer explanations for social phenomena in terms of the way in which social systems work as a whole. Micro-sociology gives explanations in terms of how people make things happen by interpreting their experience and acting on their interpretations. Macro-sociology divides into consensus and conflict approaches. The former view society as similar to the human body, where everyone functions together to enable society to work well. Functionalists believe that society is run in the best interest for everyone. Conflict theories view society as a constant struggle between classes, caused by the individuals relationship to the economic system. Functionalism is the main consensus perspective. As with functionalist analysis in general the view of education tends to focus on the positive contributions made by education to the maintenance of the social system. Functionalists see school as society in miniature where the individual develops a sense of commitment to the social group; a place to learn rules and co-operate with people other than kin or friends, school prepares the individual to learn how to conform in society. ...read more.


It enforces class differences by helping the middle-class to succeed while preventing working class children from fulfilling their true potential. According to Poulantzaz the school is just part of the Ideological State Apparatus concerned with the manipulation of values and beliefs. Educational failure is thus seen as due to the fact that schools are a mainly middle-class institution. Different groups have fundamentally different ideas and interests and therefore education will benefit some more than others. There are various conflict theories which give different views about educational failure. For example Marxist approaches argue that the education system imposes the dominant values of the ruling class on the population; grades children according to their class background; trains people for jobs in order to produce greater profit; makes failure inevitable for the majority of the population, as it is the point of the system - to achieve and legitimise this failure. Bowles and Gintis believed "Equality is an Illusion" in education as it is in the whole of society. They suggest that the prime purpose of schooling is to produce a willing, subservient workforce which will continue to help make profits for the ruling class and not to challenge their dominance of society. ...read more.


Macro-sociology and micro-sociology are not necessarily inconsistent with each other. Sometimes the one can compliment the other, particularly interationism and conflict theory. For example Sharp and Green who combine structural factors such as class race, gender etc. with the activities and perceptions of teachers - the interactionist approach. After studying a progressive primary school they argue that pressures from both within the school and the wider society ensure that teachers tend to have higher expectations from middle-class pupils. Macro research reveals the higher the social class the higher the levels of educational achievement, but this approach does not take into account such factors as gender, race, religion etc. Similarly, micro-sociology describes the mechanism of educational failure rather than explaining it. Therefore it is difficult to reach a reliable explanation without analysing from both perspectives. Education is such a vast area; the question of why some pupils underachieve in school is complex and has many answers. It is therefore unfair to look at this area from just a micro or macro perspective. To really understand the reasons behind under-achievement and give accurate analysis, you need to consider all perspectives, and take into account factors such as gender, race and class. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Different Sociological Perspectives on Crime

    Cohen believed that certain forms of deviance are natural and normal response to specific situations. Sociological study Stanley Cohen (1972). 'Folk Devils and Moral Panics'. This study looks closely at the media, and public reaction to a succession of disturbances in English seaside towns on bank holiday weekends between 1964-1966.

  2. A-Level Sociology Theory + Methods Revision.

    week of March 1946 --> tracked through the 16 years of their education --> compulsory education and IQ tests. Key Adv = Whereas other methods provide a "snap shot" of what is happening, longitudinal studies monitor social change. Disadv = Panel Conditioning - effect on people taking part.

  1. Cranford - A micro analysis of pages 1-4

    "Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes - gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun." (p13) From the offset it is clear that although both novels are from the same era there content and tone are completely dissimilar.

  2. The position of widows in Nepalese society - sociological study.

    Even taday, women who are divorcees are stigmatized in the Hindu tradition. Thus, a divorced woman has litde chance of remarriage within her own sacicoconomic greup if she comes from a high caste/class Hindu family. The need, from the religious paint of view, to keep the clan blood pure is

  1. In order for us to understand why sociological theories could be classified into 'consensus' ...

    Well, first let us look at Karl Marx and Conflict theory; there are two interpretations or paradigms of Marx's theory of conflict, Radical Humanism & Radical Structuralism. The works of Marx in his early years was interpreted by some social theorists as emphasizing the role of human beings in social conflict.

  2. To what extent is it possible to demonstrate that a sociological analysis of the ...

    She goes on to create a convincing analogy between the 'job' of having a baby and the ability of women as workers to resist their conditions. The essentialist argument is argued to be both narrow in its assumptions regarding the body and the individual's ability to have free will.

  1. The links between school bullying and mugging and there affects on individuals lives.Is it ...

    As a direct result, this in turn means they have less experience in social interaction, in the teasing and play fighting which both in family and peer relationships, may enhance the interpretation processes of emotional expression, social skills, sense of control and self-efficacy (Smith, Bowers, Binney and Cowie, 1993).

  2. Children are born to succeed or fail

    This role reinforces the stereotype that we all use for women. The other role for women in the media is as a sex symbol, they advertise anything from cars to magazines. They often do this to tempt you to buy the product they are trying to sell.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work