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Compare and Contrast the Marxist and Functionalist Interpretations of Education in Society

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Compare and contrast the Marxist and functionalist interpretations of education in society.

The role of education is to educate individuals within society and to prepare them for working life in the economy, also to integrate individuals and teach them the norms, values and roles within society. There are many different sociological theories that differ within the role of education within society that attempt to try and explain how society or aspects of society work together. Different theories try and attempt to understand social behaviour at different levels of investigation. There are several perspectives on the sociology of education that are important. The two perspectives which are going to be looked at are Functionalism and Marxism.

Functionalism sees society as a whole. It is often referred to as the consensus theory as it doesn't address the issue of conflict in society. It looks at all the major aspectsin society for example the family, the economy, the educational and political system and how they all function together as a whole to form a complete system. Functionalism can be summarised to a human body. For the human body to function properly each part needs to operate together for example the heart and lungs. If a biologist was to examine each part in isolation he would not be able to determine how life is maintained. Functionalism works similar to this. Too understand how any part of society, for example education, the functionalist would look at how education in terms of its contribution to the maintenance of the social system as a whole. All the key institutions in society need to be well integrated for society to survive and operate efficiently.

Functionalism works in the same kind of way. Each part of society can be seen to be interrelated and each part taken together to form a complete system. Functionalism also suggests that certain basic needs must me met in order for...

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