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Lecture 11

Lecture 11th - SOCA01H3.docx

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Sheldon Ungar

SOCA01H3 – Lecture 11 th Chapter 17: Education MASS EDUCATION: AN OVERVIEW  Education system displaced organized religion as main purveyor of formal knowledge o Second in importance to socialization, following family  Most of history, family responsible for socializing young and training them to perform adult roles o Preindustrial Europe, vast majority of children learned to work as adults by observing and helping elders in largely agricultural economy Uniform Socialization  Creating systems of education that had sufficient resources to include all children was a hard social change b/c training in families were decentralized, unorganized, and uneven in quality Rising Levels of Education  Sociologists distinguish educational attainment from education achievement Educational achievement is the learning or skill that an individual acquires and at least in principle it is what grades reflect. Educational attainment is the number of years of schooling successfully completed or, for higher learning, the degrees or certificates earned.  In principle, who continues and completes schooling may depend only on individual educational achievements  In practice, non-academic factors, incl. family background, play a large role in determining who completes an advanced education Individual Advantages and Disadvantages  Higher educational attainment effective for securing more employment and higher earnings The Rise of Mass Schooling What accounts for the spread of mass schooling? Four factors: 1. Development of the printing press that led to inexpensive book production 2. Protestant Reformation 3. Spread of democracy 4. Industrialism 1 1) Printing Press  1436, Johann Gutenberg introduced printing press w/ moveable type to Europe  effect was revolutionary; books had been expensive when scribes only source of new copies  printing presses led to dramatic fall in price & explosion in numbers  many of new printed books were in vernacular – languages used by everyday common folk – than Latin that only scholars understood  literacy spread beyond elite circles 2) Protestantism  catholic church relied on priests to convey dogma to believers  education of priests was primary motivation for foundation of European universities in Middle Ages  in early sixteenth century, Martin Luther, German monk, began to criticize Catholic Church  Protestantism grew out of his criticisms; believed that Bible alone, and not Church doctrine, should guide Christians  Expected Christians to have more direct contact w/ word of God than allowed by Catholic church 3) Democracy  Rise of political democracy led to free education for all children  Local populations acquired democratic means to tax themselves, tax- supported schools arose Mass Schooling and National Wealth 4) Industrialism  Mass education widely recognized as absolute necessity for creating industrial economy  Began in England in 1970s; Germany and US soon sought to catch up to England and then surpassed it; allowed every young person to attend  Literacy and numeracy were extended to nearly all population  Germany famous for scientific research  Universally acknowledged that first step to achieving highly productive economy is to create education system large enough to create mass labour force and rich enough to train and employ elite group of researchers  Education not only a source of wealth; it’s also a product of wealth o Education extremely expensive o Education enhances ability to generate earnings and wealth, but educational accumulation is greatly facilitated by earlier accumulation of wealth 2 THE FUNCTIONS OF EDUCATION Unintended Functions  Schools don’t merely carry out training; also concentrate young people into small number of places  In earlier years, law requires attendance; more advanced programs, economic incentives and family pressures keep many in schools  Unintended consequences arise from segregating people by age and forcing them to spend much of their time together i.e. schools encourage development of separate youth culture that often conflicts w/ parents’ values o Peer rankings in schools determine based on athletes and success w/ the opposite sex rather than academic success o At higher levels, educational institutions bring potential mates together, serving as “marriage market”; situation facilitates assortative mating  choosing a mate who is similar to oneself on various ranking criteria o Schools perform useful custodial service by keeping children under close surveillance for much of day, freeing parents to work in paid labour forces The Logic of Industrialism  Many functions of mass education tied to functionalist logic of industrialism  specification by functionalists of requirements that social institutions must satisfy before industrialism can be achieved, such as an education system big enough to teach many people a common cultural standard and rich enough to provide specialized scientific and technical training. Cultural Homogeneity, Solidarity, and Nationalism  Durkheim emphasized that, for the young, schooling creates cultural uniformity and social solidarity; human beings torn between egoistic needs and moral impulses  Educational institutions must ensure that moral side predominates  instilling authority, discipline, and morality, schools make society cohesive  Sociologist point to variety of manifest or intended functions performed by schools; try to teach young to view their nation in pride, respect law of land, think democracy best form of government, value capitalism o Also transmit knowledge and culture from generation to generation, fostering common cultural identity in process  Ernest Gellner proposed mass education was basis for modern nationalism  refers to sentiments emphasizing, or even favouring, the view that humanity is divided into limited number of populations defined by common culture, territory, and continuity within the kin group. 3 Pressures Toward Cultural Uniformity  Creating supply of people able to carry industrial work together required creating schools taught to common standard  Tremendous accomplishment to staff such schools – critical mass of potential teachers had to be brought to homogeneity in outlook and skills  Language central challenge; most worlds, variations in dialect existed over even small distances  Specific conventions of grammar, spelling, and pronunciation had to be designated correct; lan
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