Functionalist perspective of family

Hardison Certified Educator The sociological functionalist perspective one of three main perspectives describes society as a system of interconnected parts working together to create a harmonious stable society.

Functionalist perspective of family

After World War IIhowever, the subject received renewed interest around the world: These all implied that, with industrializationthe need for a technologically skilled labour force undermines class distinctions and other ascriptive systems of stratification, and that education promotes social mobility.

However, statistical and field research across numerous societies showed a persistent link between an individual's social class and achievement, and suggested that education could only achieve limited social mobility.

Neo-Marxists argued that school education simply produced a docile labour force essential to late-capitalist class relations. Theoretical perspectives[ edit Functionalist perspective of family The sociology of education contains a number of theories. Some of the main theories are presented below.

Political arithmetic[ edit ] The Political Arithmetic tradition within the sociology of education began with Hogben [4] and denotes a tradition of politically critical quantitative research dealing with social inequalities, especially those generated by social stratification Heath More recent work in this tradition has broadened Functionalist perspective of family focus to include gender, [9] [10] ethnic differentials [11] and international differences.

The political arithmetic tradition was attacked by the 'New Sociology of Education' of the s [15] which rejected quantitative research methods.

This heralded a period of methodological division within the sociology of education. However, the political arithmetic tradition, while rooted in quantitative methods, has increasingly engaged with mixed methods approaches. Hence structural functionalists believe the aim of key institutions, such as education, is to socialize children and teenagers.

Socialization is the process by which the new generation learns the knowledge, attitudes and values that they will need as productive citizens. Although this aim is stated in the formal curriculum, [18] it is mainly achieved through the hidden curriculum[19] a subtler, but nonetheless powerful, indoctrination of the norms and values of the wider society.

Students learn these values because their behavior at school is regulated Durkheim in [3] until they gradually internalize and accept them. Filling roles in society[ edit ] Education must also perform another function: As various jobs become vacant, they must be filled with the appropriate people.

Therefore, the other purpose of education is to sort and rank individuals for placement in the labor market [Munro, ]. Those with high achievement will be trained for the most important jobs and in reward, be given the highest incomes.

Those who achieve the least, will be given the least demanding intellectually at any rate, if not physically jobs, and hence the least income. According to Sennet and Cobb however, "to believe that ability alone decides who is rewarded is to be deceived".

They are therefore "cooled out" [22] from school with the least qualifications, hence they get the least desirable jobs, and so remain working class. Sargent confirms this cycle, arguing that schooling supports continuity, which in turn supports social order.

Where teachers have softened the formality of regular study and integrated student's preferred working methods into the curriculum, they noted that particular students displayed strengths they had not been aware of before.

This knowledge isn't very meaningful to many of the students, who see it as pointless. Sargent believes that for working-class students, striving to succeed and absorbing the school's middle class values, are accepting their inferior social position as much as if they were determined to fail.

The federal government subsidises 'independent' private schools enabling the rich to obtain 'good education' by paying for it. In this way, the continuation of privilege and wealth for the elite is made possible in continuum. Conflict theorists believe this social reproduction continues to occur because the whole education system is overlain with ideology provided by the dominant group.

In effect, they perpetuate the myth that education is available to all to provide a means of achieving wealth and status. Anyone who fails to achieve this goal, according to the myth, has only themselves to blame. They have been encouraged to believe that a major goal of schooling is to strengthen equality while, in reality, schools reflect society's intention to maintain the previous unequal distribution of status and power [Fitzgerald, cited in [3] ].

This perspective has been criticised as deterministic and pessimistic, while there is some evidence for social mobility among disadvantaged students. Structure and agency[ edit ] Bourdieu and cultural capital[ edit ] This theory of social reproduction has been significantly theorised by Pierre Bourdieu.

However Bourdieu as a social theorist has always been concerned with the dichotomy between the objective and subjective, or to put it another way, between structure and agency. Bourdieu has therefore built his theoretical framework around the important concepts of habitusfield and cultural capital.

These concepts are based on the idea that objective structures determine individuals' chances, through the mechanism of the habitus, where individuals internalise these structures.

Functionalist perspective of family

However, the habitus is also formed by, for example, an individual's position in various fields, their family and their everyday experiences. Therefore, one's class position does not determine one's life chances, although it does play an important part, alongside other factors.

Functionalist perspective of family

Bourdieu used the idea of cultural capital to explore the differences in outcomes for students from different classes in the French educational system. He explored the tension between the conservative reproduction and the innovative production of knowledge and experience. Bourdieu argues that it is the culture of the dominant groups, and therefore their cultural capital, which is embodied in schools, and that this leads to social reproduction.

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It demands "uniformly of all its students that they should have what it does not give" [Bourdieu [29] ]. This legitimate cultural capital allows students who possess it to gain educational capital in the form of qualifications.Functionalist views of the family 1. Examine Functionalists explanations of the family (24 marks) Functionalists believe that society is based on a set of shared values .

From the functionalist point of view, the institution of the family helps meet the needs of its members and contributes to the stability of the society at large.

In this view, marriage is seen as. Page last edited. 04/06/ The Functionalist Theory of Social Stratification. Tweet [This document is rather long and students who require only a brief summary of the Functionalist Theory may click here for the summary which appears at the end of this document].

See also: An Assignment on the Functionalist Theory of Social Stratification. The sociological functionalist perspective (one of three main perspectives) describes society as a system of interconnected parts working together to create a harmonious stable society.


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The sociology of education is the study of how public institutions and individual experiences affect education and its outcomes. It is mostly concerned with the public schooling systems of modern industrial societies, including the expansion of higher, further, adult, and continuing education..

Education is seen as a fundamentally optimistic human endeavour characterised by aspirations for. Functionalism in the philosophy of mind is the doctrine that what makes something a mental state of a particular type does not depend on its internal constitution, but rather on the way it functions, or the role it plays, in the system of which it is a part.

Structural functionalism - Wikipedia