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.
We are judged in terms of what we achieve and schools prepare us for this. At school, our conduct is measured against the universal school rules and our status is achieved through examination and the type of school we attend. Parsons believes that education reinforces norms and values, such as individual achievement is rewarded with praise, good grades and a good job. Durkeheim agrees with the idea that shared norms and values create social solidarity. This involves a commitment to society, a sense of belonging and a feeling that the social unit is more important to the individual.
According to Durkheim, one of the main functions of education is to develop these similarities to bind members of society together. Durkheim sees a common history as vital for uniting members of society. With a shared history, people feel part of a wider social group – it is their country, made up of people like themselves. In this way, education contributes to the development of social solidarity. Industrial society has a specialised division of labour – people have specialised jobs with specific skill and knowledge requirements.
However, other perspectives (such as Marxism and the New Right) would have different-not necessarily opposing- views. To begin with, one view on the role of education is that it acts as a ‘bridge between the family and wider society’ which is shown in Item A. This is because Education helps ease transitions between family life and society. For example, Talcott Parsons argues that this is the case because in the family there are particularistic standards, which means the child is judged on standards that apply only to them. On top of this, the child’s status within the family is ascribed because it’s what they’re born in to.
Parsons used the metaphor of education as a ‘bridge’ to work based on meritocratic principles. The education system takes children away from intimate relationships with family and puts them into a social institution where they are expected to follow instructions from an authority figure socializing them into obeying authority. School children also have a strict timetable which they must adhere to, this emphasis on punctuality and organization will prepare them for working life. Davis and Moore said that the education system was there for ‘sifting and sorting’ so that the best jobs go to the hardest working, more intelligent people. They argued that the education is meritocratic and is there to soft sort and select individuals on the basis of ability, motivation, talent and allocates them appropriate roles when they reach adulthood.
Other theories also have the idea that the Functionalists are exaggerating the consensus in society. Along with the Postmodernists, Marxists would also disagree with the Functionalist approach, as they believe that culture promotes capitalism, which they think has adverse effects on society; producing an economic system that determines the norms and values of society. Simply, classic Marxists say that people are socialised into a culture based on their social class and they blame it on capitalism. Overall, Marxists believe that culture is holding society back because it is reinforcing the class
For example, they must have shared values to provide societal expectations of individuals. Like functionalism, conflict theory also views society as a system of social structures. However, conflict theorists have a different opinion on the purpose of those structures. While functionalism views the sub-systems within the system of a society as entities that work together for the benefit of all, conflict theory holds that the sub-systems are in place and perpetuated in order to benefit only those that hold power. The people that hold power are the ones that have control of what are perceived as scarce resources, like money, land, and political influence.
For example, some people believe that education was solely introduced to help with self-betterment of an individual. This could be considered a criticism towards to view that the main role of education is ideological conditioning, due to schools providing their own solutions, a congruence of values, priorities and approaches, and the commitment of leaders to work towards a common purpose other than ideological conditioning. However, one reason that may prove that the main role of education is ideological conditioning is due to the production of skilled workers for the future. This is the view of Marxist sociologist Louis Althusser (1918-1990), who claimed that education is largely a form of social control designed to maintain the Capitalist system through ideologically conditioning individuals to accept it. Glenn Rikowski (2001) claims however that education is not merely for ideological conditioning.
This is what King seeks to explain to the reader in his essay. King believes that both education and knowledge are important; however the procedure is integrated it into their lives makes a difference. Education must teach students the means of right and wrong as well as be able to distinguish between propaganda and reality. King warns us an individual with critical thinking and knowledge is not enough. Without morals and personality, the individual won’t have a purpose in life.
Therefore this can reflect on a student’s progress in both school and future life. It should be noted that social class is defined in various ways by different people. However, the meaning stays the same. For example, Karl Marx a sociologist, divided people only into two groups they are: proletariat, this being the lowest status and the bourgeoisie the higher, he saw this as the exploiters and the exploited. People belonging to different classes are not equal and may find it difficult to communicate with the members of other groups (Reid, 1998).