Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the view that the main function of the education system is to reproduce and legitimise social inequalities. (20 marks)
The education system is one of the most influential institutions in our society, as it 'breeds' children knowledge and skills from a very young age (4-5) all the way to young adulthood (16-18), through set lessons or through the hidden curriculum. Education is said to supply a capitalist society with a perfect workforce by ensuring, for example, working class student do working class jobs. For the Marxist, education is seen as an important part of the superstructure of society. It is believed to serve the needs of the economic base; this base shapes the superstructure, while the superstructure maintains the base. It is believed by Marx that education performs ...view middle of the document...
'Symbolic violence' was the term used by Bourdieu (1977) to describe the means by which the working classes are effectively duped into accepting their failure and limited social mobility. As a result their cultural attributes are rejected because the system is defined by, and for, the middle-classes who succeed by default rather than greater ability. Bowles and Gintis (1976) correspondence theory suggests that what goes on in school corresponds directly to the world of work. They argue that education serves to reproduce directly the capitalist relations of production with the appropriate skills and attitudes. Teachers are like the bosses and students as workers, teachers are to be respected and students are to work hard if they want to be rewarded (same as in a work place), also things like early start in the morning, being punctual (prepares students for the 9-5 day).
The education determines success and not class. To conclude, on general I agree with some aspects of the Marxist perspective on education, I think there is a hidden curriculum set to prepare student for work. I don't think that educations main function is to produce class inequalities; I think education is there to teach pupils about different social classes, class doesn't determine the job that you will get, education and qualifications do. I agree with the functionalist's perspective in that all pupils have equal opportunity to achieve if they put in the effort and learn then it doesn't matter what class you are, you can still be an excellent achiever and still be from a working-class background. However to some extent I do believe that the education system servers to maintain a capitalist society but only to some extent, I think education helps maintain any type of society.