Comparing the Marxist and Functionalist Views on the Role of Education in Industrial Society

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Comparing the Marxist and Functionalist Views on the Role

of Education in Industrial Society

The functionalists and the Marxists both believe that the education

system benefits everyone, but both have different views on society.

The Marxist views of the education system are that there are conflicts

because there is an inequality between the working class and the

higher classes. They believe that there are two different classes

which education produces, and that is the working class and the ruling

class. The people who don't achieve good grades in school and who

aren't very bright, will be known in society as the working class, and

so won't have very good status jobs in society, and the people that do

brilliantly in school and who are very intelligent are the ones who

get good jobs and important jobs in society, so they are seen as the

ruling class, which is above the working class. This theory that the

Marxists has, is similar to the theory that the functionalists have,

and that is that the education system could also be known as a role

allocation. This is where a persons job is allocated to them through

there grades from school, so if the person does well, then they will

get a more important job, however if a person does not do that well,

then the person will have a low status job in society. However, the

functionalist's view of society is that it is meritocratic, which

means that those who do well will achieve more in life and will

receive rewards for their hard work, which fits in with the role

allocation idea of those who do well in school, will end up having the

better jobs in the adult world, and that the role of education

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...raw upon their own cultures

in finding ways to responding to schooling, and often these responses

involve resistance to the school. He also argues that the education

system possesses relative autonomy from the economic infrastructure.

Although in some respects Giroux's work is subtler than that of Gintis

and Bowles, Andy Hargreaves believes that it fails to solve the

problems associated with Marxist theories of education. To Hargreaves

there is a massive contradiction built into the theory of resistance

and relative autonomy: it claims that education is free to develop in

its own way and is influenced by numerous social groups, yet it is

still determined by the economy.

So both Marxism and the functionalists have different views on

society, and how education affects society, but both have structural

perspectives.

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