Exam Revision


Two Key Questions Asked By Functionalists

  • What are the functions of society as a whole?
  • What are the functional relationships between education and other parts of the social system?
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How do they view education?

  • As the teaching of social norms and values to help keep the social harmony and consensus in society.
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  • Functionalism is based on the view that society is a system of interdependent parts held together by a shared culture or value consenseus.
  • Durkheim called this value consensus the collective conscience.
  • The collective conscience represents the agreement among society's members about what values are important.
  • Each part of society such as the family, the education system or the economy perform functions that help to maintain society as a whole.
  • When studying education functionalists seek to discover what functions it performs- that is what does education do to help meet the needs of society.
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Key Terms

  • CONSENSUS: Agreement among society's members about what values are important, a shared culture. According to functionalists it intergrates individuals into society giving them a sense of solidarity.
  • COLLECTIVE CONSCIENCE: A set of shared beliefs, ideas and moral attitudes which operate as a unifying force in society.
  • SOCIAL SOLIDARITY:Shared norms and values and every one feels part of a 'single  body' or community.
  • PARTICULARISTIC STANDARDS:  Rules that only apply to a particular child.
  • UNIVERSALISTIC STANDARDS: The same standards apply to everybody.
  • ASCRIBED AND ACHEIVED STATUS: Status is inherited-ascribed. Status is earned by hard work and skill-acheived.
  • MERITOCRATIC SOCIETY: Everyone is given an equal opportunity and individuals achieve rewards through ability and effort.
  • BRIDGE BETWEEN FAMILY AND SOCIETY: Education is seen as the bridge between family and society-teaches secondary socialisation. Develops from childhood to adulthood.
  • ROLE ALLOCATION: Being given a social role.
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Durkheim: Education and Solidarity

  • In the eyes of Durkheim, the education system is another vital organ in the organic analogy model.
  • Without eductaion society would cease to function.

He identified 2 main eductaion functions:

1. To teach social solidarity

2. To teach specialist skills

  • He believed that the education system created social solidarity by socializing children into the norms and values of society (value consensus).
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'My Secondary Socialisation'

  • Having good manners
  • Time keeping
  • Religion
  • Skills
  • Teamwork
  • Etc.
  • TH: Marxists would say that we have been socialized into the capitalist norms and values.
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Creating Social Solidarity

  • ''To act morally is in the collective interest''
  • What does this mean for children?
  • 1. Children must self-restraint instead of following their own impulses.
  • 2. Children must fit in with the patterns of behaviour adopted by others and accept the discipline imposed by the school.
  • The education system helps to create social solidarity by transmitting society's cultures- its shared beliefs and values from one generation to another.
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  • How do the following subjects give pupils a shared sense of culture and history?
  • History: Shows how society in the past has been strong and how we can carry foward these norms and values.
  • English: How to write and speak.
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Teaching Specialist Skills

  • Schools also prepare pupils for life in wider society.
  • Eg. At both school and work we have to co-operate with people, we have to interact in different ways and follow rules.
  • Thinking like a Functionalist.....
  • How is this positive for society?
  • If people get on in the work place= more productivity= economic benefit= harmony and social solidarity maintained.
  • How is this positive for the individual?
  • Teaches you skills to help self provision and family care= harmony.
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Criticisms of Durkheim

  • 1) Outdated + Traditional views
  • 2) Doesn't focus on conflict- only harmony
  • 3) Patriarchal- sterotypes for male kind of jobs.
  • 4) Marxists would say that education is just another way to uphold capitalism by allowing the bourgeoisie to succeed and keeping the workers poorly educated in low paid jobs.
  • 5) No longer relevant in over multi-cultural society. His theory of education promoting social solidarity doesn't highlight faith schools teach ns+vs of a specifc religion.
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Davis Hargreaves

  • Heargreaves agreed with Durkheim that the role of the eductaion system was to teach and promote scoial solidarity
  • However, he believed that contemporary society was failing to do so

Ways to foster group solidarity in schools:

  • Cooperative group projects in the classroom
  • School plays
  • School camps
  • Inter-school sports
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  • Introduced as part of the curriculum to allow for:
  • Learning of political laws and system
  • Tolerance and understanding of opposing views
  • collective conscience
  • social solidarity
  • Etc.
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Davis and Moore: Sifting & Sorting

  • Believe that education is "the providing ground for ability and hence the selective agency for placing people in different statuses according to their capabilities".
  • 5 roles that require specialist training:
  • 1. Manual Labour (eg. builders)
  • 2. Medics ( eg. doctors)
  • 3. Government Ministers
  • 4. Scientific jobs (eg. marine biologists)
  • 5. Public Services (eg. teaching)
  • Etc.
  • Why do these roles need to be fulfilled?
  • We need specialist skilled jobs, and so need specialist training to get those best able to fulfill the jobs and to do so must offer incentives.
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Sifting & Sorting & Differential Rewards. Is this

Yes I think it is fair because...

Higher skilled jobs should have higher rewards because they require much more qualifications which cost money, time to train and effort. And it is a motivational theory.

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Parsons: Three Functions of the Education System

  • Definition of Meritocracy:
  • An educational or social system where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed and where individuals rewards and status are achieved through their own efforts/hard work.

Parsons claims....

  • In the family children are judged by particularistic standards. (where the rules apply to that particular child)
  • For example children are rewarded and punished differently such as going on the naughty step etc. or having sweet/pocket money.
  • Also in the family, a child's status is ascribed (fixed at birth) and thus an elder child may have different rights and duties to a younger child.
  • In the school (and wider society) individuals are judged by universalistic standards (the same laws apply to us all).
  • Eg. In exams everyone must follow the rules of the invidulators in exams.
  • The main statuses are acheieved rather than ascribed- individuals must work hard to achieve a better job etc.
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Parsons: Three Functions of the Education System C

  • Parsons sees the school as preparing us to move from the family to wider society because the school and society are based on meritocratic principles.
  • In a meritocratic society everyone is given and equal chance to succeed and rewards are achieved through efforts and hardwork of the individual.
  • Parsons further argues that the school selects and allocates pupils to their future work roles.
  • The school performs this function by assessing pupil's aptitudes and abilities to help match them to the job they are best suited to.

So Parsons would argue the 3 main functions are...

1. Role Allocation- The school selects and allocates pupils to their future work roles.

2. Bridge between the family & society- Teaches meritocracy and prepares and educates us to work in society which enhances social solidarity.

3. Socialization- Socializes us into the norms and values of scoiety and teaches us meritocracy.

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Criticisms of Parsons

1. Role allocation isn't an option for everyone should be able to control choices or by family members.

2. Marxist: Still not fair- still about class and status and some marxists do not  believe in meritocracys.

3. Social class/ethnicity/religion can mean different treatment.

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