Evaluate the Marxist Perspective on Education.

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Evaluate the Marxist Perspective on Education

Marxists such as Louis Althusser, Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis refute the Functionalist view that industrial capitalist societies are meritocracies and that every ones’ position in society is based on talent and hard work.  They suggest ideas for why this is the case.  Althusser bases his theory around the idea of education being an ideological state apparatus.  Bowles and Gintis’ theory is based on the ‘long shadow of work’ and the legitimation of inequality.

When speaking of the ‘long shadow of work’, Bowles and Gintis are referring to the strong relationship between social relationships at school and at work – they believe this helps education to play it’s major role in reproducing a labour force with hardworking, disciplined workers.  Educations does this through the hidden curriculum and the correspondence theory.  The hidden curriculum relates to many features of the workplace.  An example of this would be that in school the hidden curriculum teaches students to abide by rules and accept punishment, this corresponds to the workplace where students would conform to rules and not argue with your boss.  People believe that society and the education system is meritocratic.  Bowles and Gintis believe this to be false, as in reality it is legitimating the inequalities that exist in society.

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Althusser sees education as an ideological state apparatus.  This is where the government issues ruling class ideas through different institutions, or apparatus, in this case education is the main apparatus.  This is needed by capitalism to transmit the idea that the inequalities in society are justified as society is meritocratic.  This helps capitalism by preparing students for their future jobs.  The working class are taught to accept their future exploitation in the workplace.  Whereas the middle class are prepared for management roles supported by their academic qualifications.

However, these views from the Marxists are merely ideas and theories, ...

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