Comparing The Marxist And Functionalist Views On The Role Of Education In Industrial Society

1928 words - 8 pages

Comparing the Marxist and Functionalist Views on the Role
of Education in Industrial Society

The functionalists and the Marxists both believe that the education
system benefits everyone, but both have different views on society.
The Marxist views of the education system are that there are conflicts
because there is an inequality between the working class and the
higher classes. They believe that there are two different classes
which education produces, and that is the working class and the ruling
class. The people who don't achieve good grades in school and who
aren't very bright, will be known in society as the working class, and
so won't have very good status jobs in society, and the people that do
brilliantly in school and who are very intelligent are the ones who
get good jobs and important jobs in society, so they are seen as the
ruling class, which is above the working class. This theory that the
Marxists has, is similar to the theory that the functionalists have,
and that is that the education system could also be known as a role
allocation. This is where a persons job is allocated to them through
there grades from school, so if the person does well, then they will
get a more important job, however if a person does not do that well,
then the person will have a low status job in society. However, the
functionalist's view of society is that it is meritocratic, which
means that those who do well will achieve more in life and will
receive rewards for their hard work, which fits in with the role
allocation idea of those who do well in school, will end up having the
better jobs in the adult world, and that the role of education
benefits everyone equally. The Marxists believe that the role of
education benefits the ruling class only, and that is where there is a
difference between the two theorists.

A functionalist named Emile Durkheim believes that the education
system introduces the importance of social solidarity in people. He
says 'Society can survive only if there exists among its members a
sufficient degree of homogeneity; education perpetuates and reinforces
this homogeneity by fixing in the child from the beginning the
essential similarities which collective life demands.' So he believes
that social life would be impossible without social solidarity amongst
people. Social solidarity is when a mass of individuals in a society
is united as a whole, and when people learn to respect their community
and look after one another and their surroundings. Education teaches
people this at an early age, by giving history lessons because this
provides a link between the individual and the society in which they
live in. In particular, Durkheim's view are proved by the way pupils
are taught in the U. S. A, where there educational curriculum has
introduced the pupils to take an oath to...

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