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The Contribution of Functionalist Sociology to an Understanding of the Role of Education in Society

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The Contribution of Functionalist Sociology to an Understanding of the Role of Education in Society Works Cited Missing

''Schools serve a function in a complex industrial society that family and peer groups cannot'' ( Durkheim,1956)

Education is important in society. The structure and processes of education systems are related to the general process of socialisation. All sociologists agree with this, but sociologists have many different views about how societies are structured. They have many different views about the role of education in society. The following research will focus on the role of education from a Functionalist, Marxist and an Interactionalist's perspective.

Functionalists think of education as a positive function for all individuals in society, which has a powerful influence over it. The aims of education in functionalism are to maintain social stability, keep society in consensus and resolve any conflict. Durkheim and Parsons saw education as an essential agency of socialisation whose function is to transmit common values to the next generation. Parsons argued that schools act as a bridge between the family and a wide society within the role of education being to promote universal values such as achievement, individuation, competition and equal

opportunities. Education is the mainsecondary agent of socialisation, family being the primary agent. In advanced industrial society we are judged in terms of achieved status and universalistic values. That is to say 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. Parsons claims that education reinforces norms and values, such as individual achievement is rewarded with praise, good grades and a good job. However, these norms and values transmitted could be those of the ruling class or elites to exploit the proletariat. This...