Describe the Functionalist (Emile Durkheim), Conflict (Marxist) and Interactionist approach to the Socialization of Education.

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Describe the Functionalist, Conflict and Interactionist approach to the Socialization of Education.

Education - A Functionalist Perspective

Emile Durkheim proposed an explicitly functionalist explanation of the role of education in society. The major function/task of education was, according to Durkheim, the transmission of society's norms and values. Durkheim considered that all societies must have means of passing on their norms and values to the young. If they did not, they could not continue. Such transmission then is a "functional prerequisite", and it is the educational system which has the job of carrying it out. Or at least this is so for modern industrial societies, says Durkheim. (In "traditional" societies - in pre-industrial societies, where no formal educational systems existed, this transmission was carried out by the family).

For Durkheim, a vital task which must be fulfilled in all modern, industrial societies is the welding of a mass of individuals into a collective whole - in other words, "social solidarity" must be created.

This means that individuals must become capable of co-operation with each other, of working harmoniously in the modern complex division of labor; of conducting themselves for the good of society as a whole. If this necessity is not achieved, so Durkheim argues, modern social life would be impossible. It would become little but a war against all, as individuals, united by no common aims, norms and values pursued their own selfish interests to the detriment of society itself.

The family cannot promote the social solidarity of individuals. It is only the modern educational system which can do so. Why? Essentially because the family, says Durkheim, is based on principles other than those required to promote social solidarity and integration.

Modern education, Durkheim continues, teaches those basic rules of co-operation necessary to the continuation of modern society. In school,