The Role the Education System Has as an Agent of Socialization from the Conflict Perspective.

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The education system has impacted children in many ways and has helped to shape the future leaders of society. In this essay my focus will be from the Conflict/ Marxist perspective, which proposes that the education system is structured in such a way that some persons will benefit from it more than others and that it is intended to cause social reproduction of inequality. Sociologists and economists Herbert Gintis and Samuel Bowles argue (as cited in Haralambos and Holborn, 2004 p. 698) that “there is a “close correspondence” between the social relationships which govern personal interaction in the work place and the social relationships of the education system.” The education system in today’s society is considered one of the most important agents of socialization apart from one’s family. The education system is defined by the socialsciencedictionary.com (2008) as “the system of formalized transmission of knowledge and values operating within a given society.” It is stated that the purpose of the education system “is to transmit values and norms and teaching students to respect authority and develop tolerance for different personalities present in the school system.” The key terms I have acknowledged in writing this essay-apart from education system, which was defined above; are agent and socialization. An agent is defined as “a person or thing that takes an active role or produces a specified effect: agents of change; bleaching agent.” (New Oxford American Dictionary, 2005).The term socialization is defined as “the process by which an individual learns to live in accordance with the expectations and standards of a group or society, acquiring its beliefs, habits, values, and accepted modes of behaviour primarily through imitation, family interaction, and educational systems; the procedure by which society integrates the individual.” (The free dictionary by Farlex, 2012)

The perspective in which I have chosen to write this essay from is the Conflict perspective which posits that the education system perpetuates a “myth” that everyone has equal opportunity to gain an education and thus gain wealth and status in society. Marxists like Karl Marx, Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis believe that work in the capitalist societies are “exploitative and alienating”, “however if capitalism is to succeed it needs a workforce which is hardworking, obedient and very motivated and must be divided so as not to challenge authority.’ (as cited in Haralambos and Holborn, 2004 p.699). They propose that one way the education system helps to achieve this objective is through the” hidden curriculum”. Through the hidden curriculum, the education system helps to create the future workforce of subordinates. Another role of the education system is to train and place persons in society. It also perpetuates unequal treatment based on gender and transmits culture. The education system helps to create a workforce of subordinates. These workers are passive, obedient and often docile. They often follow/ obey persons who are in authority such as managers, owners etc. The education system prepares students for a formal organization and workforce authority. Students are taught to respect and follow the instructions of teachers, principal and any other adult or form of authority present in the school setting. They are often taught that they should behave a certain way in the presence of these persons and display certain behaviours that are pleasing to these persons in authority. There is often a belief among students that they should not question authority, even if their beliefs differ. An example of this in the school system is when a teacher gives students an assignment it is expected to obeyed, completing the assignment by a certain date without any opposition, if a child decides he/ she is not going to do the assignment they are often punished. This punishment is meant to insure that this behaviour is not repeated and therefore the child does not...
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