Althusser, sees education as an ideological state apparatus that reproduces and legitimates class inequality, ensuring working-class pupils end up in working-class jobs, and that they accept their exploited role. According to Bowles and Gintis, this is achieved through correspondence principle which refers to the tendency of schools to promote the values expected of individuals in each social class so as to prepare students for the types of jobs typically held by
This ideology is said to be derived from having a society based on meritocratic principles where everyone has an equal opportunity that is provided to them in education and then in the workplace. Some sociologists would argue that, yes, the education system is mainly existent to select and prepare young people for their future work roles. Marxists see the state as by which the capitalist ruling class (bourgeoisie) maintain their dominant position and would mostly agree with the statement. Louis Althusser (1971) believes the education system is an important ideological state apparatus (an element by which the bourgeoisie can maintain their dominant position by controlling people’s ideas, values and beliefs). He argued that the education system’s two main functions are to reproduce class inequality by transmitting it from generation to generation and that education legitimates (justifies) class inequality by
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.
Many sociologists have given alternate views about the main function of education. Functionalists argue that the main function of education is to maintain a value consensus – agreed social values – whereas Marxists argue that education transmits values that benefit the ruling class. Durkheim (1903), a functionalist, argues that society needs a sense of social solidarity because without it, social life and cooperation would be impossible as individuals would pursue their own selfish desires. The education system helps create social solidarity by transmitting society’s culture from one generation to the next so the main function of education is to maintain a value consensus in society. However, Marxists criticise this and argue that education in capitalist society only transmits the ideology of the ruling class and not the shared values of society.
The education system creates this effectively by teaching subjects such as history, which enables children to see the link between themselves and wider society. Durkheim argued that school serves a function that cannot be provided the family or peer groups and that individuals must learn to cooperate with those who are neither family nor friends, and he says the school is a place where these skills can be learned. Sticking with the functionalist view of the education system, Durkheim believed that school rules should be strictly enforced and that punishments be carried out to the full so it is made clear to the offenders that their actions were wrong. He believes that it is this way that pupils will learn what is wrong in society as a whole. Functionalist Talcott Parsons developed Durkheim’s ideas, and argued that
I have chosen to compare and contrast John Dewey and Nel Noddings views on their educational goals, a social justice curriculum, liberation education, issues of standardized testing and the effects on students and teachers. Dewey’s main educational goal is that education should have two sides: social and psychological. His evaluations are based on how the child interacts with society and how he/she contributes to the good of society. Dewey was the first one to say we need to look at the students to decide how to teach, a modern-day form of ‘differentiation’. He believed that all students should have the opportunity to take part in their own learning.
Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat” (Marx and Engels 1848). Social class, therefore, is based upon economic criteria and conflict occurs between those who own the means of production (bourgeoisie) and the wage-labourers (proletariat). As well as having economic control over the proletariat, the bourgeoisie also have the power to determine the superstructure; the ruling class can distort perceptions of the world and hide the true nature of social relationships and the exploitation of the proletariat and, above all, promote bourgeoisie interests. Marx defines production as workers selling their labour for wages in order to exchange money for commodities that will meet their most basic needs. As Marx
Students must be taught within themselves and not by society. Education will always be a part of society and society will always be a part of education which is why Baldwin states the importance of the responsibility for teachers to change society if they consider themselves as an educated person. To me it is very critical for all of the educators, and especially “those who deal with the minds and hearts of young people” (P.123, L.6-7) to take the greatest care in nourishing out minds and our actions based on the global societal truths. In Baldwin’s speech, he also talks about the treatment that he experienced as a boy living in what he described as “life in the ghetto” (P.125, L.7) and the mistreatment received by whites. The whites were blinded by their own
Certain behaviours can be controlled through rewards and sanctions e.g. praise and grounding. Another mechanism of social control is secondary socialisation in education. An individual is taught certain values through the educational system which are beliefs or expectations in society, for example, queuing. If an individual pushes in a queue then they are frowned on.
Functionalists also believe that society is based on consensus (agreement) and socialised (brought up) to agree on how to behave (norms) and what is right and wrong (values). They look at society on a macro scale (large) and they want to generalize their ideas to the whole of society. For example they look at what education does for society as a whole rather than certain people in society. Functionalists believe that all parts of society has a function (job or role to do) to ensure that society runs smoothly and everything is harmonious. For example education’s function is to ensure that people are educated to be good at the job they will do after leaving school.