SOC224H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Dalton Mcguinty, Labour Power, Dishwasher

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8 Feb 2016
SOC224 Wednesday February 3, 2016
Explaining the Effects of Education
From Last Class…
“Selection” theories (any theory that the education system is involved with the selection process;
creates opportunities or barriers) :
Bowles and Gintis
- Correspondence principle
- Channels people into certain jobs (working class/upper class)
- Counter-school culture; lads and ear’oles
- Peer culture in a particular context (manufacturing community)
- Counter-school culture; Hallway Hangers and Brothers; role of school
- Added dimension of race; American Dream
- As long as our society is riddled with inequalities, our students will face inequalities
in the education system
- Forms of capital
- People with more capital benefit more
- Upper-class kids more likely to succeed because they have the right type and the
right quantity of capital
- Family culture
Schooling becomes legitimated because it has a connection to the labour market; the
effect of having a degree; the effect of having a particular credential
- Ex. you need a medical degree to be a good doctor
How schools are legitimated:
- Human Capital Theory
- Credentialism
- New Institutionalism
Memory Jog: Knowledge Economy
Knowledge economy: “When economic innovation is increasing driven by the production
of knowledge, and where knowledge becomes an asset on par with land, productive
capital, and manual labour power.”
Sample discussion of knowledge economy
- Increasingly a person’s ability to demand a high wage is based on having some
skills; some kind of value that allows you to command some type of pricing point in
the labour market
- Focus on skills; only way to get those skills is through learning
- Trait companies are looking for most is the demonstrated ability to acquire skills;
not important want skills you currently have, but your ability to develop new skills
Tie most closely
to the labour
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SOC224 Wednesday February 3, 2016
- Accreditation is the “holy grail” of education; employers believe that this is the
single best sorting method they have to determine who they are going to hire (more
likely to hire someone with higher credentials/higher degrees)
- Skills = income/job
- Skills acquired through learning – in order to actually have those skills you have to
have gone through education
- Demonstrated ability to acquire skills – how do you demonstrate that you are able
to acquire skills?
- Credentialism – that credential serves as evidence that you can acquire knowledge
- Value of credentials rests on employers (sorting) – the value of a degree vs. a
massive open online course is dependent on the employer; what they view as more
- Outcome vs. process – are we speaking about an outcome (is the simple piece of
paper that signifies you graduated enough), or will employers at any point start to
be more interested in what you actually did with those years while you were in
Move towards knowledge being a skill that you should acquire; jobs more focused on
acquiring a type of knowledge, not a type of technical skill
Our degree represents that we have acquired knowledge during our studies in university
Human Capital Theory
Why people attend school
How economists think about education
Capital: a resource that can be exchanged
Human capital: humans themselves can be a kind of resource that can be exchanged;
yourself as the resource
Education as an “investment”; cost/benefit analysis – if you pursue education, you are
trying to increase your human capital; invest because you hope that it will land you a
good job and a better salary; putting in time and money to increase human capital
Many people decide that the benefits of education outweigh the costs (cost/benefit
Presumed causal connections between skills, the economy, and rewards
Schools (universities and colleges) are the places where you can learn the right kinds of
skills that will be recognized within the job market
Are the benefits worth the investment?
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