Assess the Contribution of Marxism to Our Understanding of the Role of Education

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Assess the contribution of Marxism to our understanding of the Role of Education Sociologists argue that Education has different functions amongst society. Functionalists would argue that Education is a good thing and that it prepares younger generations for life in the work place; however Marxists would argue that education justifies social inequality and prepares working class people for working class jobs. Marxists argue that Education creates the ‘Myth of Meritocracy’, where pupils are taught to believe that social mobility is possible in society; however in reality schools are educating working class students for working class jobs. With the exception of a few, education confirms individual’s class of origin as their class of destination. Class inequalities are reproduced and education does not provide a means of social mobility. This acts as a continuous cycle down generations, as a result families that are working class cannot move up the social ladder therefore cannot join the Bourgeoisie. Bowles and Gintis (1967) argue that the education system disguises the fact that there is no equality of opportunity in education, and that social class, ethnicity and gender are the main influences on future success. Marxists believe that the hidden curriculum helps to persuade society’s future citizens to accept the dominant ideology and their position in a society based on inequality, exploitation and conflict. Functionalists however argue that the hidden curriculum prepares younger generations for life in the work place, For example, we obey higher authority such as teachers, of which in the work place would be our employer. Unlike Marxists, Functionalists believe that social mobility is possible and education gives individuals the best chance to achieve their status. American Sociologist, Parsons believes that education is a secondary agent of socialisation, and the
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