Social Theory and Education in Contemporary American Society Term Paper by scribbler

Social Theory and Education in Contemporary American Society
A discussion on three social theories to explore the relationship between society and education.
# 152972 | 2,292 words | 11 sources | APA | 2013 | US
Published on May 01, 2013 in Sociology (Theory) , Education (General)

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This paper explores functionalism, conflict theory and interactionism and applies them to the institution of education to determine whether education is more influential on society than society is on education. The paper draws the conclusion that society and education equally influence one another, with the amount of influencing varying based on the economic, political and sociological circumstances at the time of analysis.

Conflict Theory

From the Paper:

"The boom of industrial capitalism that was occurring around the turn of the 20th century in America solidified a view of education as a means of legitimizing the consumption-oriented focus of society. It is from this context that functionalist theory arose as a means of justifying the mushrooming economic interests of the nation as functional needs. As such, the institution of education took on a "quality control" perspective in which productivity and efficiency were the primary goals (DeMarrais & LeCompte, 1999).
"At the core functionalist theory in sociology is the notion that the social world can be examined and interpreted in much the same matter as the physical world. The emphasis is on the application of scientific theory to human utility and interaction. When applying functionalism to the institution of education, the systematic processes that accompany learning and socialization become premier (DeMarrais & LeCompte, 1999).
"Emile Durkheim is one of the most well-known advocates of functionalism, and he wrote extensively about its place in education. Durkheim was especially interested in how education functions within society as a catalyst for social change. He was also concerned with how education affects the readiness of our nation's youth to adapt to, and contribute to, society outside of the classroom. Therefore, the reason Durkheim is considered to be a functionalist is that he viewed education as a systematic institution that interacts with society on a methodical plane (DeMarrais & LeCompte, 1999)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Aronowitz, S. & Giroux, H.A. (1987) Education under siege: The conservative, liberal and radical debate over schooling. Psychology Press.
  • Ballantine, J.H. & Spade, J.Z. (2007) Schools and society: a sociological approach to education, Pine Forge Press
  • Blumer, H. (1969). Symbolic interactionism: Perspective and method. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Bolman, L. G. & Deal, T. E.,(1997) Reframing organizations: artistry, choice, and leadership, Jossey-Bass
  • DeMarrais, K. B., & LeCompte, M. D. (1999). The ways schools work a sociological Analysis of Education (3rd. ed.). Addison Wesley Longman, Inc

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Social Theory and Education in Contemporary American Society (2013, May 01) Retrieved October 22, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Social Theory and Education in Contemporary American Society" 01 May 2013. Web. 22 October. 2020. <>