SOCB26H3 Lecture Notes - List Of Muppets, Structural Functionalism, Meritocracy

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9 Oct 2012
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- a vital part of modern life
- in the past, formal education only of interest and importance to a select few
o job skills learnt informally (self taught)
o most people did not finish high school
- contemporary (current) situation
o education is a crucial pre-requisite for a successful adult life
o young people, minimally, expected to finish high school
o university enrolments have never been higher
- why is education become of ever-increasing importance?
- What is education?
o The systematic, formalized transmission of knowledge, skills and
- Why is education similar to socialization
o Because of its emphasis upon the transmission of culture
- How is education different from socialization?
o Education is more deliberate, purposive, enterprise
o What we learn is school is not left to chance (compared to
o Education is formally organized
3 ways that school connects to society
1. Selection
o We leave (graduate from) the educational system with different
badges of ability (scholarly awards and whatnot)
o Educational selection is linked to inequality (people who get awards
are usually the ones who keep getting them, and the ones who don’t,
keep getting none)
o Competition for the best jobs is intense: who gets them and how?
o Structural functionalism: educational selection is a meritocratic
o Conflict theorists: it I through the educational system that high status
parents pass on their privileges to their children
2. Socialization
o In the mid-19th century, Durkheim, concerned about the decline in
religion as a moral force in society. What was going to replace it? The
school curriculum concerned with moral education.
o In contemporary times: new questions, new debates, about what
schools should be culturally transmitting
Sex education, anyone?
What book should students be reading in school?
Religious teaching
o The limits of socialization?
Anti-academic youth culture
School violence
Do schools perform functions that are not always intended?
3. Social organization
o Teachers often struggle to motivate reluctant students
The limited motivational strategies available to them means that schools are often
conflict prone organizations