sociology; education

Topics: Marxism, Social class, Sociology Pages: 3 (936 words) Published: January 27, 2014
This essay seeks to evaluate the Marxist view on education by arguing against their beliefs with Functionalists views.

Bowles and Gintis (1976) believed that the school system is based on hierarchies. The teachers give orders in which the pupils are expected to obey and refusing to do so results in a punishment. This is proven as the hierarchies of the classroom directly correspond to those in the workplace where the employers/bosses are in charge of the employees who, like the school pupils, are expected to do as asked. The workers just like the school pupils will be punished for not doing what is expected of them; however the workers punishment can result in losing their jobs. To expand, Bowles and Gintis suggest that education reproduces the capitalist relations of production which means that this structure is used to produce workers to help the economy. Functionalist Talcott Parsons would criticise that view as he describes school to be a direct bridge between the family and adult roles within society, the transfer from childhood to the adulthood working lives. Parsons would also argue that the education system is what moves you from your ascribed status, to your achieved status meaning that you are not conforming to the correlation of the role you play in the classroom and the role you get as a worker, he is saying that pupils have the opportunity to strive for the top jobs and to relate to their school roles.

Marxist Althusser (1971) suggests that the bourgeoisie keep themselves rich and keep the proletariat poor. He says the real function of education is to maintain, justify and reproduce class inequalities from one generation to the next. This is done through a hidden curriculum which is a set of unwritten rules learnt at school which enforces conformity and becomes a norm to people, for example having to ask to go to the toilet and putting your hand up before talking. By doing this it ensures that the working class people conform to the...
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