Assess the Contribution of Marxism to Our Understanding of the Role of Education

1676 WordsJun 26, 20137 Pages
Using material from Item A and elsewhere assess the contribution of Marxism to our understanding of the role of education. As mentioned in Item A, Marxists take a critical view of the role of education. They see society as based on class divisions and capitalist exploitations. The capitalist society is a two class system as mentioned in Item A and it consists of a ruling class, the bourgeoisie and the working class, the proletariat. The bourgeoisie exploits the proletariat according to Marxists and they believe that the education system only serves the needs and interests of the ruling class, as mentioned in Item A. Marxists also education as functioning to prevent revolution and maintain capitalism. According to Louis Althusser, the state…show more content…
The hidden curriculum therefore consists of ideas, beliefs, norms and values which are often taken for granted and transmitted as part of the normal routines and procedures of school life. Bowles and Gintis argue that it is through the hidden curriculum that the education system prepares us for our future as workers in capitalist society. Bowles and Gintis also argue that in order to prevent rebellion from those disadvantaged by the inequalities of capitalism, it is necessary to produce ideologies that explain and justify inequality as fair, natural and inevitable. If people think inequality is justified then they are less likely to challenge the capitalist system. According to Bowles and Gintis, the education system plays a key role in producing such ideologies. They describe the education system as a giant ‘myth making machine’ and focus on how education promotes the ‘myth of meritocracy’. Meritocracy refers to a system where everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve, where rewards are based on ability and effort. This means that those who gain the highest rewards and status deserve it because they are the most able and hardworking. Bowles and Gintis argue that meritocracy does not actually exist. Evidence showed that the main factor determining whether or not someone has a high income is their family and class background, not their ability or educational achievement. By
Open Document