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The Contribution of Functionalist Sociology to an Understanding of the Role of Education in Society

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The Contribution of Functionalist Sociology to an Understanding of the Role of Education in Society

Functionalists have constructed two questions to help them research
education. The first question is. "What are the functions of
education for society as a whole?" and the second question is. "What
are the functional relationships between the education system and
other parts of the social system".

Firstly, Functionalism is a theory. A theory based on “value
consensus”. Functionalism is based on the view that society is a
system of interdependent parts held together by a shared culture or
value consensus (an agreement amongst society’s members about what
values are important). Functionalist theories assume the different
parts of a society each have their own role to play (their own
"function"), and work together smoothly in order to form a harmonious
whole (macro). The metaphor often used to describe functionalism is
that it views society as a body, with the different socialisation
agents —government, media, religion, the family, etc., and, of course,
education—being like the different organs in a body, each contributing
in a different way to keeping the entire body healthy.

Emile Durkhiem writing at the turn of the last century found that the
major function of schools was the transmission of society's norms and
values. Durkhiem stated that without "essential similarities",
co-operation and social solidarity social life would be impossible,
there needs to be a "degree of homogeneity". Durkhiem stated that
for a child "to become attached to society, the child must feel in
something which is real, alive and powerful, which do...


... middle of paper ...


...es that
education's mayor role as the reproduction of labour power. They
agree that education transmits norms and values but of the workplace
and through the hidden curriculum.

I agree and disagree with both views. I agree that a school transmits
society’s norms and values but I also believe that family and friends
also help. I also reject the Functionalists view that school is
meritocratic because not everyone has an equal chance and not everyone
will achieve the same even if they have the same ability. Children of
the ruling class have greater chances. Although Marxists have a
better idea but need to take some ideas from Interactionists to get a
clearer picture in my belief.

Even though this each perspective has its flaws, we can become clearer
on the actual contribution of education in society as whole.


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