Using Material From Item A And Elsewhere, Assess The Claim That ‘The Main Function Of Education Is To Maintain A Value Consensus In Society’

899 words - 4 pages

The role of education in society is seen by many different people in many different ways. This is due to the fact that different sociologists hold different and conflicting views. Functionalists tend to believe that society is based on a shared culture of similar values and norms; as Item A mentions ‘Schools play a vital role by socializing young people into these basic values.’ Whereas, a different approach to education is one of Marxists, who believe that education ‘transports values that benefit the ruling class not society as a whole’. It is a complicated argument as many questions could be raised by both viewpoints as to what the true purpose of education is.
Firstly, Functionalists ...view middle of the document...

It does this by reproducing class inequality by failing successive working class pupils and it justifies why class inequality is acceptable by producing ideologies that hide where it first occurs.
According to Bowles and Gintis, the education system produces a set of ideas and beliefs that inequality is inevitable- workers will begin to accept that they deserve the inferior position and they are not likely to challenge or rebel against capitalism as they have been socialized at school not to. The correspondence principle reflects how the school and the workplace operate in parallel with each other. For example, at school the relationship between teachers and pupils prepares them for wider society to accept superior figures and conform to what they say as the workforce also has a hierarchy of authority. However a limitation to Bowles and Gintis’ theory is that they assume all pupils do not make their own decisions and that they passively accept brainwashing but they are unsuccessful at explaining why some pupils choose to reject school values- hence there are pupil subcultures. If we are all oppressed why does the subculture, ‘rebels’ exist?
The term ‘Fordism’ is often referred to capitalism, which needs non-skilled workers who are prepared to accept alienation. A critique of the Marxist approach is that Post modernists say that the Marxist view is no longer current and we have moved forward into a postmodern era, therefore rejecting the idea that education creates class inequality. Society in the post- modernist era is diverse and fragmented therefore class divisions no longer play an important part in constructing society. The system now needs a work force which is skilled and flexible to use technology which has advanced since the modern era. This means instead of preparing pupils to be low skilled and obedient workers the education...

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