Assess the view that the main function of the education system is to reproduce and legitimise social inequalities

Topics: Middle class, Social class, Working class Pages: 3 (927 words) Published: March 9, 2014
The education system has faults and many inequalities throughout it. The inequalities can be seen in many different areas including, meritocracy, different social classes, gender and ethnic inequalities, racism, cultural capital, and repressive state apparatuses etc. Various sociologists have different views about the education system and what the inequalities consist of. The neo-Marxist Althusser (1971) disagrees that the main function of the education is the transmission of common values. He thinks that education is an ideological state apparatus and its main function is to maintain, Legitimate and reproduce, generation by generation, class inequalities in wealth and power by transmitting capitalist values disguised as common values. Althusser also believes that ideology is done subconsciously through the hidden curriculum. He thinks that the way schools are organized and the way the curriculum is taught means that working-class people are encouraged to conform to the capitalist system and accept failure and inequality within their class. Bowles and Gintis’s correspondence theory suggests that what goes in school corresponds directly to the world of work. Teachers are seen to be the bosses and pupils are like the workers, who work for rewards. However, Bowles and Gintis suggest that the success of the pupils is not entirely based on ability. The pupils who conform to the rules, rise above those who express attitudes or display behaviour which challenge the system. Schools reproduce sets of workers with the appropriate ways of being for the position that they come to occupy. This is why white middle-class pupils normally do better for themselves. This is hidden throughout education and people believe it is just meritocracy, so people blame themselves for denied success. Therefore the education system reproduces the inequalities and makes them seem fair. Reynolds (1984) criticizes Bowles and Gintis’s correspondence theory as he claims that the curriculum set in...
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