top-rated free essay

Assess the claim that the role of education is to transmit the ruling class ideology

By shaheenahmed97 Nov 26, 2013 916 Words
Assess the claim that the role of education is to transmit the ruling class ideology (20marks)

Sociologists would agree that there are many roles in education but one of the main roles is to transmit a ruling class ideology, one perspective would be Marxism that see’s education based on class division and capitalist exploitation. However, functionalists would argue that education is seen as performing a beneficial role for both society and individuals.

Marxism is a class conflict perspective based on class division and capitalist exploitation. Marxists argue that education functions to reproduce a labour force for the capitalist. The bourgeoisie minority class exploit the proletariat- majority class to make profit. Marxists argues that education prevents the working class from succeeding and therefore the role of education is to transmit the ruling class ideology.

Sociologists like Althusser states that there are two main elements by which the capitalists maintain their dominant positions. These are ‘the repressive state apparatus’ and ‘the ideological state’, he argues that education reproduces class inequality and also justifies inequality by producing ideologies that this function is to pursed workers to accept their lower positions in society.

According to Bowles and Gintis this is achieved through the ‘correspondent principle’ capitalism requires a work force with the right attitude and personality by workers willing to accept inequality and hard work to produce an obedient work force. There are important similarities between school and work, education is seen as a barrier to controlling and legitimating people, for example at work, where workers have no control over what they do just resulting in alienation. The hidden curriculum also plays an important role in teaching pupils to accept the capitalist ideology. Bowles and Gintis see the education system as a myth making machine promoting the myth of meritocracy-that everyone is equal and can achieve. Thus the role of education is to transmit the ruling class ideology.

However, Willis rejects this idea of the ‘correspondence principle’, his study into ladism shows the working class lads try to challenge inequalities by going against the schools ideology for example wearing the school uniform, as a result they limit their opportunity’s and end up in dead end working class jobs like a factory, however the capitalists need ‘lads’ to perform these jobs. Whereby, they rebel against the ruling class ideology as they believe education is unfulfilling and its only purpose is to transmit the ruling class ideology. Although critics like functionalist say Willis accounts of the ‘lads’ is unlikely to be representative to all people.

Functionalism is based on value consensus approach that sees society as based on shared values into which members are socialised. It views society like a machine where one component cannot function without another. For example, education, work and religion are all separate but all have the same value of respect. This enables them to agree on goals and cooperate harmoniously.

Sociologist such as: Durkheim, Parsons also Davis and Moore hold different and conflicting views on these perspectives and identify the main functions of education; to maintain a value consensus in society. Durkheim mentions that there are two main functions of education which are: ‘creating social solidarity’ and ‘teaching specialist skills’. Education system helps to create social solidarity by transmitting society’s culture. He also says that school is a miniature society which prepares us for wider society and that education teaches the individuals the specialist skills and knowledge needed to play their part in social division of labour. However Marxists argue that education in a capitalist society also transmits the ideology of a minority- ruling class.

Functionalist Talcott Parsons disagrees with many of Durkheim’s ideas such as schools preparing us for wider society. He sees school as a focal socialisation agency where as in modern society it is like a bridge between family and wider society as both family and society operate on different principles. He believe education prepares us to move from the family to wider society based on meritocracy where individuals achieve rewards through own hard work and effort. However, Bowles and Gintis describe this structure as a ‘giant myth-making machine ‘and argue that meritocracy doesn’t exists.

Parson argues that school have a second function which is selecting and allocating pupils to their future work roles by assessing individuals’ aptitudes and abilities, schools help to match them to the jobs they are best suited to. Like Parsons, Davis and Moore focus on relationship between education and social inequality, as this is important to ensure the most talented students are allocated the higher paid jobs. Therefore society needs to offer higher rewards which distinguish between the selections for work roles based on meritocracy principles. Marxists disagree with this claim as there is clear division between what the meritocratic ideology offers and it displays that the role of education is not transmit a ruling class ideology.

In conclusion; both Marxist and Functionalist summarise the role of education. However the Marxist perspective ignores many aspects such as feminist critics which say that Marxists over emphasise the class inequality in schools and ignore the inequality faced by women. Functionalist perspective has been criticised for idealising education but in reality the system is not equal instead it influences by class, gender and ethnicity. In addition, Marxists argue that schools only transmit the ideology of ruling class and further suppress the working class. For that reason sociologists would agree the ruling class ideology are needed to keep the state in control and to inspire the working class.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Assess Functionalist Views of the Role of Education

    ...Assess functionalist views of the role of education. (20 marks) Functionalists emphasise positive aspects of schools, this is the idea of a ‘consensus’ perspective; where there is an agreement about what is valued within a society. These are like Emile Durkheim's social facts or moral regulation in that they govern behaviour, and while the...

    Read More
  • Is Conservatism Merely a Ruling Class Ideology?

    ...Is conservatism merely a ruling class ideology? A ruling class ideology as defined by Karl Marx is “the class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production... the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it”, in other words a ruling c...

    Read More
  • Outline And Assess The View That The Role Of Education System Is To Reproduce And Transmit Culture

    ...Outline and assess the view that the role of education system is to reproduce and transmit culture (50 marks) According to Bourdieu, the major of the education system is cultural reproduction. This involves society as a whole, as Durkheim argued, but, instead, the reproduction of the culture of the dominant classes. These groups have the powe...

    Read More
  • Assess the Contribution of Marxism to Our Understanding of the Role of Education

    ...Using material from Item A and elsewhere assess the contribution of Marxism to our understanding of the role of education. As mentioned in Item A, Marxists take a critical view of the role of education. They see society as based on class divisions and capitalist exploitations. The capitalist society is a two class system as mentioned in Item A ...

    Read More
  • Assess the Argument That the Main Function of Education Is to Reproduce the Social Class Structure.

    ...The social class structure in the society is reproduced in many ways. One of the ways is through education. Many believes that the main function of education is not to educate the younger generation, instead is to replicate the social class structure one generation after the other. Certainly, many contrasting opinions have been expressed by diff...

    Read More
  • Assess the Claim That the Main Function of Education Is to Maintain a Value Consensus

    ...Assess the claim that 'the main function of education is to maintain a value consensus in society' Functionalists believe that education is a value consensus, which means that the majority of a society agree with this statement. For example, inadvertently, people in the UK agree that wearing clothes is a norm as is education. Education has ma...

    Read More
  • Ruling class

    ... The Ruling Class Gaetano Mosca Among the constant facts and tendencies that are to be found in all political organisms, one is so obvious that it is apparent to the most casual eye. In all societies—from societies that are very meagerly developed and have barely attained the dawnings of civilization, down to the most advanced and powerfu...

    Read More
  • Assess the contribution of functionalism to our understanding of the role of education

    ... Functionalists take a positive view on education. They see is as a process that instils the shared values of society as a whole. Functionalists believe education performs three main functions: social solidarity, specialist skills and role allocation. Durkheim indentified two main functions of education: creating social solidarity and teac...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.