Using Material from Item a and Elsewhere, Assess the Contribution of Functionalism to Our Understanding of the Role of Education

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Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the contribution of Functionalism to our understanding of the role of education Functionalism is a consensus theory which sees society as being essentially harmonious. This is because it believes all its institutions work together like a human body to function properly. Therefore, Functionalists argue that social institutions, such as education, perform positive functions for both society and for individuals. Different Functionalists have differing views on its role but essentially, as Item A points out, all their views are positive on the role of education. 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. However, in society there are universalistic standards which mean the child is judged against standards which apply to all of society. These are essentially the laws of the country. Furthermore, the child’s status in wider society is achieved through merit. Parsons argues therefore that the role of education eases the transition between the family and wider society. In contrast however, Post-modernists would have a different view. They would argue that actually schools are actually out of date. One of the main problems identified by Post-Modernists is that the education system put in place in the UK is designed intellectually and in terms of
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