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Outline and Explain the Functionalists View of Education

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Outline and explain the Functionalists view of education

Functionalism is based on the view that society is a system of independent groups held together by a shared culture or value consensus. This is an agreement in society among its members about what values are important. Each part of society such as the family and education system performs functions that help to maintain society as a whole. Functionalists see the education system as acting in a more positive way to keep society running in the way it should. 

Many sociologists have studied the role of education and argued that the education helps its members in ways such as language and academic skills. Emile Durkheim the founder of functionalist sociology identified two main functions of education. These were the role of social solidarity and how schools teach specialist skills. Firstly Durkheim argued the role of social solidarity this is that the individual members must feel themselves part of a single body or community. He argues that without social solidarity, social life would be impossible as everyone would pursue their own selfish desires and not work together to get what they want out of life. The education system helps to create this social solidarity by transmitting society's ideas from one generation to the next. For example, Durkheim argues that teaching of a countries history instil a sense of a shared heritage and commitment to the wider social group. 
However Marxists argue this social solidarity is just brainwashing students into thinking that everyone in society today is equal and that we are all part of society, while we are really just getting exploited by the bourgeoisie. People are just being led into a sense of false class consciousness and are being persuaded into thinking they have the same values of everyone else when they actually haven't. 

Next the second function he described was the teaching of specialist skills. Modern industrial economies have a complex division of...

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