SOCA02H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Making Money, Chiropractic, Cultural Capital

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13 Apr 2012
Lecture 7 Education
Mass educational system = Sociology of Education
Religion in traditional society was the main source of knowledge and that was taken over by education
Some say that education is in fact trying to replace parents (Educators call themselves “co-parents”)
Mass education is recent and it is still reserved for wealthy countries
Slide 5 - 300 years ago most people were illiterate and never attended school
Literacy rate in Canada is 99% an ability to read at around grade 8 level (university rates are way past
University students way past this
Religion used to isolate people but education doesn’t do this. Education has become rationalised and
centralized and many pressures for uniformality and standardization
o People that oppose this - In America, a lot of home-schooling because they don’t like what the
schools are teaching
Particularly in kindergarten and high schools, curricula determined by the Apparatchik beauracrats in
school board in university its is developed by professors (= academic freedom)
Main concern about what is taught in school Some people pay attention to how changes in the
economy relate to changes in education
o Ex: Steve Jobs and Steve Wosniak (Apple Computers): they founded Apple (the largest
corporation in the world now)
These guys changed education but Steve Jobs was the better businessman laptops in
o Sociologists look at how the economy influences education which has become heavily
computerized. (Steve jobs = its economy that influences the economy.)
Education can influence the economy
Watson and Crick:
o Their famous book: the double Helix was a huge discovery. There are all kinds of genetic
engineering companies out there today
o Education in research help this in the economy today
Functional and conflict approaches they contrast. The big question = does education cause inequality
or equality?
Functionalism looks at achievement: sees education as being based on a meritocracy
o Ex: Scantron sheets = people evaluated based on merit or achievement
o Ascription is much more important to conflict theory
o Functioanlyist goes back to early French sociologists in the 1800s
o St. Simone Comte, Spencer = were early functionalists 19th century; Parsons = early
functionalist 20th century
o All say that education is functional because it integrates society into a functional whole
o Functionalists approach = Consensus
Conflict theory: economic barriers filter on the basis to ability to pay
o Some jobs need academic credentials that are questionable as job skills
o Charted accountant friend says: he graduated from grade 13 and a CA company trained him and
he wrote his Ontario exams without a BA! Right out of high school!
o An ex-teacher: graduated from grade 11 in high school; took quickie 6 weeks course in summer
and teaching primary school in September now you need 4 years of university and then
teacher’s college
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o Many sociologists say that there is too much reliance on credentials many academic
credentials are questionable
o Ex: LSATs and MCATs: are lacking validity and don’t predict how well you’re going to do in
med/law schools
o GRE: graduate records exam for socio, psych grad schools used to be mandatory; no longer the
case because it doesn’t predict how well you do.
o People say that these tests are questionable - What they do is exclude people more than
anything else = they reproduces class differences
o Neo-Marxists: “new”; say that education perpetuates inequality and causes conflict; Conflict
theorists say that education results in dissensus disagreement/ conflict (functionalists say that
education results in consensus)
o Randall Collins
Slide 9 - Educational attainment (is the number of years of schooling completed or, for higher levels,
certificates and degrees earned)is easy to measure but educational achievement is hard to measure. It is
learning a skill that an individual acquires and at least in principle it is what grades reflect
Education socializes people in traditional societies (aka non-literate societies they didn’t read)
culture is passed on from family to child. But as the division of labour increases which is a sign of the
modern world this is the knowledge society.
o Knowledge society parents cannot socialize you in many things
As a division of labour increases, societies become more complicated formal education. The kinship
network cannot properly socialize the child for the successful performance of adult roles you need
specialized institutions
o Ex. if dad is civil engineer and you want to be an accountant, your dad can’t impart to you how
to go about it
Formal education becomes mandatory (up to certain age, 16)
High levels of literacy are required in knowledge society
Education begins with 3 R;s: Reading, Riting and Rithmetic (Reading, writing and arithmetic)
o 2 major divisions: literacy (reading, writing) and numeracy(numbers, arithmetic)
Primary school lays the foundation high school, college, university gradually branches out in various
directions. Community colleges go in applied and university goes off in theoretical direction
Schools socialize not just by teaching literacy and numeracy (formal curriculum) but they also socialize
by way of the informal curriculum the hidden curriculum” slide 10
o Not apparent but it imparts obedience to authority and conformity to cultural norms
o Part of it is to transmit values belief and norms
o Schools also want to encourage good behaviour zero-tolerance for violence etc.
o Teaches discipline and punctuality (must be on time and study); they also teach motivation and
o Motivation involves long range planning part of the informal curriculum too; ability comes
handy in other aspects of life
o Teach that “around here, everyone is treated equality” meritocracy argument, evaluated on
objective ability; rules apply equally to everyone
o Part of the hidden curriculum - Education teaches deferred gratification: to be able to withstand
your wants to supply needs and save up for gratification in the future. If you want something
right NOW = instant gratification.
Functions of Education:
1. Socialization
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