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Assess the Claim That the Main Function of Education Is to Maintain a Value Consensus in Society.

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Submitted By dodo1
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The claim that the main function of education is to maintain a value consensus in society is portrayed by different sociologists in different ways e.g. feminists believe that to maintain a value consensus in society, patriarchy needs to be abolished. Different theorists believe in different functions of the education system, some think of it as promoting value consensus and some see otherwise.

Functionalist Durkheim (1993) identified the two main functions of education were, creating social solidarity and teaching specialist skills. Durkheim argues that society needs a sense of solidarity, without social solidarity, social life and cooperation would be impossible because each individual would pursue their own selfish desires; the role of education is to produce social solidarity. School also acts as a ‘society in miniature’, preparing us for life in wider society, school serves a function that cannot be provided the family or peer groups and that individuals must learn to cooperate with those who are neither family nor friends, he says the school is a place where these skills can be learned. Modern industrial economies have a complex division of labour, where the production of even a single item usually involves the cooperation of many different specialists. Durkheim argues that education teaches individuals the specialist knowledge and skill that they need to play their part in the social division of labour, therefore the main function of education is to maintain a value consensus in society. Durkheim has been criticized, with other theorists saying he assumes that the norms and values transmitted by the education system are those of society as a whole.

Functionalists believe that education within schools, and the existence of the hidden curriculum, is positive. According to Parsons (1961), primary socialization amongst the family, teaches us to share...

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