Sociology 1020 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: Structural Functionalism, School Choice, Human Capital
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January 6, 2014
Chapter 12: Education
3 Major ways schools connect to society:
- higher vs lower level, opportunities for better and worse jobs!
- sorts students with different “badges of ability”!
- schools are stratiﬁed in ways that reﬂect workplace hierarchies!
- meritorious process
- pass along chosen values from generation to generation!
- Durkheim sought to replace authoritative voice of religion
3. Social organization!
- affect how we learn and deﬁne different occupations (core interest of Max Weber) !
—> rationalization, according to Weber, was the main logic behind modern societies and schooling
changed society by organizing and creating formal pathways to the labour ﬁeld!
- school credentials are are a signal of skills, but schools are often seen as a tool to distribute
legitimate access to jobs
-earnings have shifted from land based family fortunes to self earned credentials
-“class reproduction” the passing of earnings from one generation to the next does not extend to
-School selection occurs in 2 ways:!
1. structured in a stratiﬁed manner!
2. within that structure, students of different background have unequal rates of success
-Canada’s tradition form of selection is called streaming!
- splitting students into curricular groupings (ie: university and college classes)!
- streaming is criticized for dampening aspirations of working class students
-Functionalists believe the eduction system consistently rewards and promotes the best whilst neo-
Marxists believe it ensures that those born disadvantaged remain disadvantaged
-Patterns in education worsening existing inequalities:!
- educational attainment has risen steadily in the last 50 years for youth of all backgrounds!
- despite this, success has been linked to prior socioeconomic status (one of the “iron laws” in the
sociology of education)!
- the likelihood of attaining a university education is inﬂuenced by parental level of education
-Three legacies to take into account when looking at differentiating education rates between races:!
1. differences in socioeconomic status!
3. immigration policy
-schooling reduces learning gaps along socioeconomic lines and thusly function as equalizers
-According to structural functionalists, schools teach modern values, provide common culture to
compensate for declining inﬂuence of religion
-Marxists believe that schools impose a hidden curriculum promoting obedience to authority, mirroring
capitalist competition (by competitive learning)
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