Evaluate the contribution of functionalist theory to an understanding on meritocracy in education Free essay! Download now
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Evaluate the contribution of functionalist theory to an understanding on meritocracy in education
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| Words: 1400 | Submitted: 17-Dec-2004
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In a meritocratic society, intelligence, ability and effort are rewarded through an achievement-orientated and universalistic education system. Meritocracy states that if a person applies themselves to their work, they will do well, and achieve good grades. Similarly, if a student does not ever work and pays no attention to their education, then they will not succeed. However, critical sociologists point to class, ethnic and gender inequalities in educational achievement as overwhelming evidence that meritocracy is a myth.
Functionalists believe that for a society to survive, it needs to be united. Education plays an important role in teaching individuals the norms and rules of society, without which, the social group would disintegrate. Much like a biological organism that depends on its separate organs and parts to function, society also depends on people carrying out their individual tasks for it to function. This analogy devised by Durkheim, links individuals to society by showing the need for people to know their social rules and specialist work skills. Parsons stated that to function in society, each individual must learn their ‘universalistic values’, the fundamentals of society and their allocation of future work roles. Davis and Moore explained the role and function of education.
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