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Sociology of David Tushin SOCI – 101 Williams-Paez How Educational Institutions Divide us into Hierarchies & Classes.

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Presentation on theme: "Sociology of David Tushin SOCI – 101 Williams-Paez How Educational Institutions Divide us into Hierarchies & Classes."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sociology of David Tushin SOCI – 101 Williams-Paez How Educational Institutions Divide us into Hierarchies & Classes

2 A Sociological Perspective History of Education Sociological Perspectives – Functionalist – Conflict Theory – Social Reproduction Meritocracy Pierre Bourdieu Capital Modern Cases of Social Mobility & Education

3 Hx of Education Relationship between education and social mobility How schools influence social inequalities Studies concentrated on the relationship between class and educational opportunity. There was great optimism concerning the power of education to transform society. What needed transforming was the wastefulness of the existing school system. The search was on for ways in which schools could maximize their pupils' talents. Deprivation was traced to the failure of the working class family, faulty socialization, restricted language and low expectations

4 Émile Durkheim Functionalism is a theory of social transmission Functionalists draw on Evolution in the natural sciences – Societies fulfill basic functions to survive – They develop specialized structures to carry out those functions – The overall health of the society depends upon the health of each structure

5 Émile Durkheim on Education “Education is the influence exercised by adult generations on those that are not yet ready for social life. Its object is to arouse and to develop in the child a certain number of physical, intellectual, and moral states which are demanded by him by both the political society as a whole and special milieu for which he is specifacaly destines…” (Ballantine)

6 Functionalism Social Structures (Institutions) Family Government Religion Economic Systems Education Functions or Purposes Reproduction Distribute goods or services Allocate Power Transmit Rules, Customs, and Appropriate Behaviors Functionalist claim that if one socializing institution is not full filling its function another will take over that role to retain equilibrium.

7 Functionalism & Education Intellectual Purposes Acquisition of cognitive skills Acquisition of knowledge Acquisition of inquiry skills Political Purposes Educate future citizens Promote patriotism Promote assimilation of immigrants Insure law and order Economic Purposes Prepare students for later work roles Select and train the labor force needed by society Social Purposes Promote a sense of social and moral responsibility Serve as a site for the solution or resolution of social problems

8 Karl Marx Conflict Theory accepts inequalities (social / economic / political) as normal Social systems are dynamic – NOT equilibrium There are tensions between interest groups Four concepts: competition, structural inequality, revolution, and war Powerful groups who control economic and political systems

9 Conflict View- Social Reproduction Powerful elites manipulate public opinion to preserve their entrenched position Elites have superior resources they can control the means of communication, they can maintain social inequalities Rather than promoting democracy, social mobility and equality, schools reproduce the ideology of the dominant groups in society Schools are structured like factories and are organized like bureaucracies Through tracking and testing, students are sorted into class / gender / based work roles

10 Meritocracy The idea of ‘meritocracy’ originates in sociological fantasy: that is, in Michael Young’s remarkable piece of social science fiction, The Rise of the Meritocracy Promotes social efficiency, social mobility and social justice Merit = IQ + Effort

11 Pierre Bourdieu Habitus – Each individual occupies a position in a social space or “Habitus” characterized by habits, beliefs, mannerisms, linguistic styles Cultural Capital – These habits, beliefs, mannerisms, languages have value know as “cultural capital” in some cultural settings

12 Privileged Families Have more Economic Capital $$$$ Leads to.. Social Capital Cultural Capital Academic Success

13 Privilege

14 v9A v9A

15 Family incomes have declined for a third of American children over the past few decades.

16 Countries with high income inequality have low social mobility

17 Upward social mobility is limited in the United States

18 The children of high- and low-income families are born with similar abilities but different opportunities

19 There is a widening gap between the investments that high- and low-income families make in their children

20 The achievement gap between high- and low-income students has increased

21 College graduation rates have increased sharply for wealthy students but stagnated for low-income students

22 High-income families dominate enrollment at America’s selective colleges

23 A college degree can be a ticket out of poverty

24 The sticker price of college has increased significantly in the past decade, but the actual price for many lower- and middle-income students has not

25 Few investments yield as high a return as a college degree


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