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In clarifying the role of the school in society, recognizing the different sociological theories is important. To derive their theoretical understanding of the role of the school in culture, the symbolic theory of interactionism and the feminist theory was applied. The theory of confrontation has also been used to describe how schools and educational institutions result in disparities in grades.
Sociological Theories and the School Position
In recognizing the role of schools in society, sociological theories should be used. A different view of the school's position is offered by each sociological theory.
Big Sociological Theories of School Function
The role of the school can be accessed using a number of theories, namely the symbolic interactionism and the feminist theory in sociology. An evaluation of how the school and educational institutions result into class differences is explained using Karl Marx’s conflict theory (Simmel, 1971).
Symbolic interactionism theory helps to bring out several roles of the school. The school can just be viewed as a unit of interacting personalities (Habermas, 1972). The other contribution of the symbolic interactionism theory in understanding the role of the school is that through the school, individuals develop a concept of self and identities through social interaction. Interactions between people are interpreted through existing symbols, and understanding of such symbols help to understand human behavior.
Most feminists agree that knowledge is integrally related to questions of sex and gender. Feminists often charge that traditional sociological theory has denied the gendered nature of knowledge. Therefore, the school avails the opportunity to the women to gain some level of equality with men through gaining of knowledge. The theory suggests that the school avails an opportunity for enormous social change by rectifying social inequalities.
Karl Marx’s conflict theory focuses on the cause and consequences of class conflict (Weber, 1949). It states that tensions and conflicts arise as a result of uneven and limited distribution of resources, status and power between groups in the society which results into competition. Marx’s conflict theory can, therefore, be used to show how educational institutions influence class differences in the society. First, those in control of educational institutions exercise power over other people in the society hence resulting into class differences in the society. Secondly, education is a system of evaluation of candidates to choose the best performer for consideration into opportunities. This exposes candidates into competition for success and therefore different levels of success.
In conclusion, both the symbolic interactionism and the feminist theory help to explore the common role of the school. The conflict theory also outlines ways in which the school perpetuates class differences through exercise of power and competition in classes. Application of knowledge on sociological theories can be applied in different contests for evaluation.
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Canadian Sociological Association (2012). Statement of professional ethics. Retrieved from http://www.csascs.ca/files/www/csa/documents/codeofethics/2012Ethics.pdf.
Habermas, J. (1972). Knowledge and human interests. Boston, MA: Beacon Press
Lee, M. (2009). Trends in global population growth. Retrieved from http://www.ebscohost.com/academic/academic-search-premier.
Simmel, G. (1971). The problem of sociology. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press
Weber, M. (1949). Methodology of the social sciences. Translated by H. Shils and E. Finch. Glencoe, IL: Free Press
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