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Assess Functionalist and Marxist approaches to the relationship between education and economy.

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Introduction

Assess Functionalist and Marxist approaches to the relationship between education and economy. Functionalists have constructed two questions to help them research education. The first question is. "What are the functions of education for society as a whole?" and the second question is. "What are the functional relationships between the education system and other parts of the social system". Emile Durkhiem writing at the turn of the last century found that the major function of schools was the transmission of society's norms and values. Durkhiem stated that without "essential similarities", co-operation and social solidarity social life would be impossible, there needs to be a "degree of homogenity". Durkhiem stated that for a child "to become attached to society, the child must feel in something which is real, alive and powerful, which dominates the person and to which he owns the best part of himself". Durkhiems view is supported by America where there is a common national curriculum, which helps to support shared norms and values and they also learn about the history of America. Durkhiem stated that school serves a function in a complex industrial society that the family or peer group can't. ...read more.

Middle

Education is subservient to the needs of those who control the workforce and the means of production. Bowles and Gintis see the education system as a place where students learn the norms and values of the workplace, this is important because if capitalism to succeed they need a hardworking, docile, obedient and highly motivated workforce. Students learn this through the schools hidden curriculum, this is what pupils learn through the experience of attending school. 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 reflects the workplace where they obey their employers. At school students are encouraged be external reward just as a workforce in capitalist society are rewarded by external rewards. School promotes fragmentation of the curriculum, this is reflected in the workplace where specific tasks are carried out by different people. 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. ...read more.

Conclusion

Functionalists such as Durkhiem believe that schools operate on meritocratic principles. They believe that status is achieved on the basis of merit and that its fair and equal for all. However Bowles and Gintis reject that education can be meritocratic within a capitalist framework because the believe that class background is the most important factor influencing levels of attainment. Bowles and Gintis also claim those children of the wealthy and powerful have a higher chance of obtaining a 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 prospective state that schools transmits society's norms and values. Bowles and Gintis Marxist view states that education's mayor role as the reproduction of labour power. They agree that education transmits norms and values but of the workplace and through the hidden curriculum. I agree and disagree with both views. I agree that a school transmits societies norms and values but I also believe that family and friends also help. 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 have greater chances. Chris Casanovas ...read more.

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