Compare, Contrast And Evaluate The Sociological Perspectives On The Ro

1255 words - 5 pages

The role of education is to educate individuals within society and to prepare and qualify them for work in the economy as well as helping to integrate individuals into society and teach them the norms, values and morals of society. Yet there are three sociological theories that differ greatly between them on the role of education. These are Functionalism, Marxism and Liberalism.

     Functionalists view the role of education as a means of socialising individuals and to integrate society, to keep society running smoothly and remain stable. Emile Durkheim, creator of the Organic Analogy, was a functionalist during the 1870’s. Durkheim believes that society can only survive if its members are committed to common social values and that education provides these to children and young people as well as raising awareness of their commitment to society. Durkheim also believed that schools teach young people that they must co-operate with their peers and be prepare to listen to and learn from their teachers. Individual pupils eventually learn to suspend their own self interests for those of society as a whole, work together and that success in education, just like in society, involves commitment to a value consensus. Similarly, Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore, functionalists during the 1970’s, believed that education is strongly linked to social stratification by members of society and that education ‘sifts, sorts and allocates’ people to their correct place in the economy and society. By rewarding the most talented and most dedicated by allowing them into the highest paid and highest status jobs, education performs the function which is always necessary to Functionalists – differentiating all members of society so that the system runs smoothly.

     Like the functionalists, Marxists agree that education is functional in that it maintains the dominance of certain powerful groups in society. Unlike the functionalists, however, Marxists do not believe that it works for the benefit of all. Instead Marxists argue that the education system sustains one small group’s ideas about appropriate forms of schooling and assumptions about what knowledge is. The system also maintains different levels of access to knowledge for different groups and thereby prohibits the widespread dissemination of knowledge to everyone. Bowles and Gintis, writers of ‘Schooling in Capitalist America’ (1976) believe in the ‘Correspondence Principle’, where they suggest that the hierarchy in work is similar to the hierarchy in school, particularly in the differences in social class between state school pupils and fee paying school pupils. Bowles and Gintis also believe that schools are no longer about the teaching of a subject but the Social Principle or control of the pupils meaning that schools concentrate more on the hidden curriculum than the knowledge process. Equally, schools don’t reward independence and innovation, therefore...

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