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 ... 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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