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Using Material From Item A And Elsewhere, Assess The Contribution Of Marxism To Our Understanding Of The Role Of Education

1545 words - 7 pages

Item A: Marxists take a critical view of the role of education. Capitalist society is essentially a two-class system, with ruling class exploiting the working class. Marxists see education as being run in the interests of the ruling class.
For example, Althusser argues that education is an important ideological state apparatus that helps to control people’s ideas and beliefs. He suggests education has two purposes. It reproduces class inequalities through the generations by ensuring that most working-class pupils experience educational failure. Education also legitimates this inequality, persuading the working class to accept educational and social inequalities. Other Marxists have also ...view middle of the document...

They believe that sociologists should explain how education reproduces and legitimates all types of inequality. Also how the different forms of inequality are inter-related.
Althusser (1972) was another Marxist that played a huge part in capitalism. He said that the church, was the main agency of control, but the education system has now replaced it. The church socially controlled people in the past by teaching them about heaven and hell and that it was a social consequence. Schools act as a social control by being informal, by praising the pupils or telling them off in lesson or formal, by exclusion, detention, a letter home or even an award. The national curriculum choose core subjects that the schools should teach, but then each subject have a higher and lower level and the students are divided by that. Another method of social control is to make all the students the same and equal by making them where the same uniform, by doing this it prevents fights and bulling from both teachers and staff. Althusser believed in the ideological state and that it maintains the rule of the bourgeoisie by controlling people’s ideas, values and beliefs by religion, the mass media and the education system. Schools provoke social exclusion that is if someone in a group of friends does not buy a certain video game and the rest of the group exclude him from conversations and the group because of this. There is also a repressive state. This is where you need to maintain the rule of the bourgeoisie by force or the threat of it. (E.g. Police, courts and army). Also when necessary to repress the working class.
In Althusser view the education system is an important ideological state apparatus. It believes that education performs two functions. The first is that education reproduces inequality by conveying from generation to generation, by failing each generation of working-class pupils. The next function is that education legitimates class inequality by producing sets of values and beliefs that disguise its true cause. Ideology is supposed to encourage workers to accept that inequality is unavoidable and they should also be in that inferior position in society. He believes that if they accept these ideas then the working-class are less likely to challenge or threaten capitalism.
Bowles and Gintis (1967) are the last main theorist in education. They came up with the correspondence theory, this is where the school corresponds with the workplace. In other words they are very similarly organised and similar in relationships to each other. For example, relationships between a student and teacher, between a teacher and their boss/colleague or employee and employer. This in turn generates social reproduction, which is where the reproduction of workers that have socialised into capitalist values. School promotes the idea of social inequality, so everybody has an equal chance in education. Bowles and Gintis think this is a myth because of many reasons, one being social...

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