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Writers Such As Parsons Assumed That Class Differences In Education Would Become Less Significant As Society Became More Meritocratic. Explain Why He And Others Believed This And Why This Has Still Not Occurred In Britain.

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This debate has been hotly contested ever since Parsons first put forward his ideas in around 1950. He is often considered to be the key sociological theorist relating to education and by many as the greatest social thinker of the twentieth century.

I find his work fundamental to the exploration of education within the context of society as it challenges the underlying ethos behind education and therefore the outcomes and purpose of it. This I feel is incredibly relevant in 'Modern Britain' especially with the up-coming election. The debate has ramifications on many 'hot issues' surrounding the elections such as: top-up fees and exams. Also with 'New Labour' having an identity crisis and flirting with conservatism, the issues is further confused.

Parson's was a functionalist this means he looked at institutions and their role within societies. He saw all institutions as performing a necessary function or societal need often in maintaining society. The two major roles he sees education playing are

* General socialisation of the whole population into the dominant culture, values and beliefs of a society.

* Selecting people for different types and levels of education.

These points in some ways draw from Durkheim's work and Parsons openly stated his and others influence on him. Durkhiem was the inspiration for Parsons ideas on a unified social system

Social solidarity

Hidden curriculum

A meritocracy can be defined as "Social system in which rewards and occupational positions are allocated justly on the basis of merit, rather than on ascriptive factors such as class, gender, ethnic group or wealth." (Lawson & Garrod, 1998)

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"Writers Such As Parsons Assumed That Class Differences In Education Would Become Less Significant As Society Became More Meritocratic. Explain Why He And Others Believed This And Why This Has Still Not Occurred In Britain.." Essays24.com. 11, 2010. Accessed 11, 2010. https://www.essays24.com/essay/Writers-Such-As-Parsons-Assumed-That-Class-Differences/11274.html.