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Flashcards in The Role Of Education In Society Deck (34)
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Explain what functionalists mean by 'value consensus'.

An agreement among society's members about what values are important.


What do functionalists aim to explain when studying education?

What function it performs - that is, what does it do to help meet society's needs?


Explain how education helps to create social solidarity.

By transmitting society's culture - its shared beliefs and values - from one generation to the next. For example, Durkheim argues that the teaching of a country's history instils in children a sense of shared heritage and a commitment to the wider social group.


How does school resemble a 'society in miniature'?

By preparing us for life in wider society. For example, both in school and at work we have to cooperate with people who are neither family nor friends - teachers and pupils at school and colleagues and customers at work.


According to Durkheim, why does education need to teach specialist skills?

It promotes social solidarity and other specialist knowledge and skills that are needed for individuals to play their part in the social division of labour.


What are particularistic standards?

Rules that only apply to a particular person.


According to Parsons, how does education act as a bridge between the family and wider society?

Both school and wider society judge us all by the same universalistic and impersonal standards. For example, in society, the same laws apply to everyone. Similarly, in school, each pupil is judged against the same standards.


What is a meritocracy?

When everyone is given an equal opportunity, and individuals achieve rewards through their own effort and ability.


According to Davis and Moore, why is it important for role allocation to be meritocratic?

They argue that inequality is necessary to ensure that the most important roles in society are filled by the most talented people. For example, it would be inefficient and dangerous to have less able people performing roles such as a surgeon.


What is human capital?

Worker's skills.


State four criticisms of the functionalist perspective.

- Interactionist, Dennis Wrong, argues that functionalists have an 'over-socialised view' of people as mere puppets of society.

- Neoliberals and the New Right argue that the state education system fails to prepare young people adequately for work.

- There's ample evidence that equality in education doesn't exist. For example, achievement is greatly influenced by class background rather than ability.

- Marxists argue that education in capitalist society only transmits the ideology of a minority - the ruling class.


State two characteristics of neoliberalism

- They believe that the state cannot meet peoples needs.
- They believe that people are best left to meet their own needs through the free market.


For neoliberals, what is the value of education?

How well it enables the country to compete in the global marketplace. They claim that this can only be achieved if schools become more like businesses, empowering parents and pupils as consumers and using competition between schools to drive up standards.


State three similarities between the New Right and functionalist views.

- Both believe that some people are naturally more talented than others.

- Both favour an education system run on meritocratic principles of open competition, and one that serves the needs of the economy by preparing young people for work.

- Both believe education should socialise pupils into shared values, such as competition, and instil a sense of national identity.


Identify one key difference between functionalism and the New Right.

The New Right don't believe that the current education system is achieving the goals they want. The reason for its failure, in their view, is that it's run by the state.


According to the New Right, what is the solution to the problems of state education?

- They argue that the state education system take the 'one size fits all' approach, imposing uniformity + disregarding local needs.
- The consumers who use the schools have no say.
- Solution: marketisation of education.
- They believe competitions between schools and empowering consumers will bring greater diversity, choice + efficiency to schools and increase their ability to meet consumers needs.


Briefly outline Chubb and Moe's proposed system for education.

They want to introduce a market system that would put control into the hands of the consumers. They argue that this would allow consumers to shape schools to meet their own needs and would improve their quality and efficiency.


According to the New Right, what are the two roles for the state in education?

- The state imposes a framework on schools within which they have to compete. For example, by publishing Ofsted reports and league tables, the state gives parents info with which to make a more informed choice between schools.

- The state ensures that schools transmit a shared culture. By imposing a single national curriculum, it seeks to guarantee that schools socialise pupils into a single cultural heritage.


State four criticisms of the New Right perspective.

- Gewirtz and Ball: competition between schools benefits the m/c, who can use theor cultural and economic capital to gain access to more desirable schools.

- Critics argue that the real cause of low educational standards isn't state control but social inequality and inadequate funding of state schools.

- There's a contradiction between the New Right's support for parental choice on one hand and the state imposing a compulsory national curriculum on the other.

- Marxists: education doesn't impose a shared national culture, but imposes the culture of a dominant minority r/c and devalues the culture of the w/c and ethnic minorities.


Define the capitalist class/bourgoisie.

They're the minority class. They're the employers who own the means of production. They make their profits by exploiting the labour of the majority - the proletariat.


Define the working class/proletariat.

They're forced to sell their labour power to the capitalists since they have no means of production of their own and so have no other source of income.


What do Marxists see as the main function of education?

A way of preventing revolution and maintaining capitalism.


Define the ideological state apparatus.

Maintaining the rule of the bourgeoisie by controlling people's ideas, values and beliefs. The ISAs include religion, the media and the education system.


Define the repressive state apparatus.

Maintaining the control of the bourgeoisie by force or the threat of it. The RSAs include the police, court and army. When necessary they use physical coercion to repress the w/c.


According to Althusser, which two functions does education perform?

- It reproduces class inequality by transmitting it from generation to generation, by failing each successive generation of w/c pupils in turn.

- It legitimates class inequality by producing ideologies that disguise its true cause. The function of ideology is to accept that inequality is inevitable and that they deserve their subordinate position in society.


According to Bowles and Gintis, what is the role of the education system?

To reproduce an obedient workforce that will accept that inequality is inevitable.


Give two examples of the correspondence principle.

- Bowles and Gintis: argue that the correspondence principle operates through the hidden curriculum - that is, all of the lessons that are learnt in school without being directly taught.

- Cohen: argues that youth training schemes serve capitalism by teaching young workers, not genuine job skills, but rather the attitudes and values needed in a subordinate labour force. It lowers their aspirations so that they'll accept low paid work.


Explain what Bowles and Gintis mean by the 'myth of meritocracy'.

- The myth of meritocracy serves to justify the privileges of the higher classes, making it seem that they gained them through succeeding in open and fair competition at school.

- This helps persuade the w/c to accept inequality as legitimate, and makes it less like that they'll seek to overthrow capitalism.


What are the characteristics of the lads' counter-culture?

They're scornful of the conformist boys who they call 'ear'oles' (boys who listen to teachers). The 'lads' have their own brand of intimidatory humour, 'taking the piss' out of ear'oles and girls.


What are the similarities between the counter-culture and shopfloor culture?

Both cultures see manual work as superior and intellectual work as inferior and effeminate. This leads to males thinking they are superior to women.