Postmodernist view on education

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Outline the postmodernist view of the role of Education Postmodernists take a diversity approach when considering the role of education. They argue that the Marxist view is outdated and that society has entered a new postmodern phase. Marxists believe that capitalism cannot function without a workforce that is willing to accept exploitation. They also see education as reproducing and legitimating class inequality. Postmodernists reject this view of Marxism, that we still live in a two-class society and the claim that education reproduces class inequality. Postmodernist sociologists such as Morrow and Torres see class divisions as no longer important and that society is now much more diverse and fragmented. Marxist approaches are useful in exposing the ‘myth of meritocracy’. They show the role that education plays as an ideological state apparatus, serving the interests of capitalism by reproducing and legitimating class inequality. However, postmodernists criticise Bowles and Gintis’ correspondence principle on the grounds that today’s post-Fordist economy requires schools to produce a very different kind of labour force from the one described by Marxists. Postmodernists argue that the economy has shifted away from assembly-line mass production and is now based on ‘flexible specialisation’, where production is customised for small specialist markets. This post-Fordist system requires a skilled, adaptable workforce able to use advanced technology and transfer their skills rapidly from one specialised task to another. Post-Fordism calls for a different kind of education system. Instead of preparing pupils to be low-skilled, low-paid, obedient workers, education must encourage self-motivation, self-supervision and creativity. It must also provide lifelong retraining because rapid technological change and intensified competition in the globalised
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