Functionalism, Interactionism and conflict Sociological Theories:
List the major functions of education. Explain the problems that conflict theory sees in education. Describe how symbolic interactionism understands education.
|Quick Reference||Social Movements Theories of Education Historically, American education served both political and economic needs, which dictated the function of education. Today, sociologists and educators debate the function of education.|
|Related content in Oxford Reference||Social Movements Three Major Perspectives in Sociology Sociologists analyze social phenomena at different levels and from different perspectives.|
|Three Major Perspectives in Sociology||Mead argued that people's selves are social products, but that these selves are also purposive and creative, and believed that the true test of any theory was that it was "useful in solving complex social problems".|
|Although Mead taught in a philosophy department, he is best known by sociologists as the teacher who trained a generation of the best minds in their field.|
These include a socialization, b social integration, c social placement, and d social and cultural innovation. Latent functions include child care, the establishment of peer relationships, and lowering unemployment by keeping high school students out of the full-time labor force.
Problems in the educational institution harm society because all these functions cannot be completely fulfilled.
Symbolic interactionism This perspective focuses on social interaction in the classroom, on the playground, and in other school venues.
Certain educational problems have their basis in social interaction and expectations. Perhaps the most important function of education is socialization. If children are to learn the norms, values, and skills they need to function in society, then education is a primary vehicle for such learning.
In the United States, these norms and values include respect for authority, patriotism remember the Pledge of Allegiance? A second function of education is social integration.
For a society to work, functionalists say, people must subscribe to a common set of beliefs and values. As we saw, the development of such common views was a goal of the system of free, compulsory education that developed in the nineteenth century. Thousands of immigrant children in the United States today are learning English, US history, and other subjects that help prepare them for the workforce and integrate them into American life.
A third function of education is social placement. Beginning in grade school, students are identified by teachers and other school officials either as bright and motivated or as less bright and even educationally challenged.
Depending on how they are identified, children are taught at the level that is thought to suit them best. In this way, they are presumably prepared for their later station in life. Whether this process works as well as it should is an important issue, and we explore it further when we discuss school tracking later in this chapter.
Social and cultural innovation is a fourth function of education. Our scientists cannot make important scientific discoveries and our artists and thinkers cannot come up with great works of art, poetry, and prose unless they have first been educated in the many subjects they need to know for their chosen path.
These include socialization, social integration, social placement, and social and cultural innovation.
Education also involves several latent functions, functions that are by-products of going to school and receiving an education rather than a direct effect of the education itself.
One of these is child care: Once a child starts kindergarten and then first grade, for several hours a day the child is taken care of for free.
The establishment of peer relationships is another latent function of schooling. Most of us met many of our friends while we were in school at whatever grade level, and some of those friendships endure the rest of our lives.
A final latent function of education is that it keeps millions of high school students out of the full-time labor force.
This fact keeps the unemployment rate lower than it would be if they were in the labor force.
Because education serves so many manifest and latent functions for society, problems in schooling ultimately harm society. For education to serve its many functions, various kinds of reforms are needed to make our schools and the process of education as effective as possible.
Education and Inequality Conflict theory does not dispute the functions just described. One example of this process involves the function of social placement.
When most schools begin tracking their students in grade school, the students thought by their teachers to be bright are placed in the faster tracks especially in reading and arithmeticwhile the slower students are placed in the slower tracks; in high school, three common tracks are the college track, vocational track, and general track.
Such tracking does have its advantages; it helps ensure that bright students learn as much as their abilities allow them, and it helps ensure that slower students are not taught over their heads.
But conflict theorists say that tracking also helps perpetuate social inequality by locking students into faster and lower tracks. The latter tend to lose self-esteem and begin to think they have little academic ability and thus do worse in school because they were tracked down.
In this way, tracking is thought to be good for those tracked up and bad for those tracked down. Conflict theorists thus say that tracking perpetuates social inequality based on social class and race and ethnicity Ansalone, According to this criticism, these tests favor white, middle-class students whose socioeconomic status and other aspects of their backgrounds have afforded them various experiences that help them answer questions on the tests.
A third critique of conflict theory involves the quality of schools. As we will see later in this chapter, US schools differ mightily in their resources, learning conditions, and other aspects, all of which affect how much students can learn in them.
Simply put, schools are unequal, and their very inequality helps perpetuate inequality in the larger society.Theories of Education Today, sociologists and educators debate the function of education. Three main theories represent their views: the functionalist theory, the conflict theory, and the symbolic interactionist theory.
Sociological Paradigm #3: Symbolic Interactionist Theory Symbolic interactionism is a micro-level theory that focuses on the relationships among individuals within a society.
Communication—the exchange of meaning through language and symbols—is believed to be . Functionalism Conflict Theory And Symbolic Interactionism Sociology Essay.
Print Reference this. Conflict theory encourages social change and social revolution. Today, conflict theories find social conflicts between any groups in which the potential for inequality exists such as race, gender, religious, political, economics and etc.
The symbolic interaction perspective, also called symbolic interactionism, is a major framework of sociological theory. This perspective relies on the symbolic meaning that people develop and rely upon in the process of social interaction.
Social inequality is the issue pertaining to the lack of housing, health care, education, employment opportunities, and status. It is the dismissal of people from participation in what we, the members of society distinguish as being valuable, important, socially desirable, and personally worthwhile.
(), symbolic interactionist, questioned definitions of "norms," was interested in political-economy and bureaucracies (macro) but also studied people's values and perspectives (micro) to gain verstehen (understanding) of social ideas and actions.