Marxism Is No Longer Relevant to an Understanding of Contemporary Society. to What Extent Do Sociological Arguments and Evidence Support This View (33 Marks)

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Traditional Marxists argue that our society is split into two bases- the economic base and the superstructure. The economic base is the means of production, this consists of all the factories and machines that Marx argued determined the ideas of society and shape the superstructure. The superstructure consists of the social, cultural, political and ideological parts of society, Marx argued that the superstructure maintains and legitimizes the base. Marx argued that this organisation of production and society profoundly shapes the nature of society. Marx argues that the ideologies in the superstructure cover up the inequalities of society; he argues that these ideologies justify inequality because they are not neutral and therefore they serve the interests of the ruling class. Marx argues that the education system is like the workforce as it teaches us to be docile workers and accept that inequality is inevitable. Bowles and Gintis support Marx’s traditional view of the link between education and the nature of work in Capitalist societies. They argue that the education system integrate people into various aspects of the capitalist production process. The organisation of the education system mirrors the work force in many ways such as disciplining students to the demands of work- something they call ‘the crucial ingredient of job adequacy’. Schools also replicate the social relationships found in the workplace such as the hierarchy of importance, the ‘setting’ of pupils in regard to their talents and the authority teachers have over pupils. However, Bowles and Gintis’ theory of the correspondence theory is too deterministic as they see teachers as the agents of capitalism and the students as the victims when some teachers are radical and not all students will be passive recipients of capitalist ideology. Karl Marx, a traditional Marxist came up with three
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