marxism

Topics: Sociology / Pages: 3 (691 words) / Published: Apr 3rd, 2014
The Marxist Perspective on Education

Marxists such as Louis Althusser, Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis refute the Functionalist view that industrial capitalist societies are meritocracies and that every ones' position in society is based on talent and hard work. They suggest ideas for why this is the case.
Althusser bases his theory around the idea of education being an ideological state apparatus. Bowles and Gintis' theory is based on the
'long shadow of work' and the legitimation of inequality.

When speaking of the 'long shadow of work', Bowles and Gintis are referring to the strong relationship between social relationships at school and at work - they believe this helps education to play it's major role in reproducing a labour force with hardworking, disciplined workers. Educations does this through the hidden curriculum and the correspondence theory. The hidden curriculum relates to many features of the workplace. An example of this would be that in school the hidden curriculum teaches students to abide by rules Functionalism has given a useful understanding of society, despite its limitations. Functionalists describe society using an organic analogy; they say society is like a biological organism. Parsons found three similarities between society and an organism. System organisms such as the human body and society are both self regulating and inter-related, independent parts fit together in fixed ways. In the body these are organs; in society they are institutions, such as family and education. Both organisms have system needs for example an organism needs nutrition without which it would die. Social systems have basic needs for example members of society need to be socialised. Both society and organisms function to contribute to meeting the systems needs and thus ensure survival. For example the circulatory systems delivers oxygen to cells, similarly the economy in society helps meet the needs for food and shelter.

Parsons argues the

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