Sociology Unit 2

Including sociologist perspectives, how gender/ethnicity/age etc influence educational achievement, policies.


Functionalist perspective on education

Functionalist perspective on education is concerned with the functions or role of education for society as a whole, in particular maintaining social stability through the development of value consensus, social harmony and cohesion.

Durkheim - structuralist, macro approach, two main functions of education:

  • Social solidarity - refers to the integration of people in society through shared values and social ties.
  • Teaching specialist skills - the expansion of schooling and higher education as necessary to provide properly trained, qualified labour force.
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Functionalist perspective on education

Parsons - structuralist, macro approach. Parsons sees the school as the 'focal socialising agency', acting as a bridge between the family and wider society. Schools claim that we are all born the same and start off with no advantage. Parsons sees school as perparing us to move from family to wider society because school and society are both based on meritocratic principles.

Davis and Moore - structuralist, macro approach. They argue that inequality is necessary to ensure that the most important roles in society to ensure that the most important roles in society are fitted to the most talented people. This will encourage everyone to compete for them and society can then select the most talented individuals to fill these positions. 'sifts and sorts' us.

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