***Education and Society*** Education plays a significant role in society. Educational institutions take part on society in different aspects; such as on the people’s intellectual development, politics, economics and several other fields. Sociologists see education as one of the major institutions that constitutes society. While theories guide research and policy formation of education, they also provide logical explanations on why things happen as they do. These theories help sociologist understand educational systems.
Definition of Terms Society a structured community of people bound together bysimilar traditions, institutions, or nationality Culture shared beliefs and values of group of people Consensus A general or widespread agreement among allmembers of a particular society Conflict A clash between ideas, principles and people
There are several theories that dealwith the formulation of the foundationof education in relation to the society.Among of these theories are theconflict and consensus theories.According to some sociologist;society has two faces; the face ofconsensus and the face of conflict.Further, they emphasized thatsociological theory should be dividedinto two parts between theconsensus theory and the conflicttheory.
The consensus and conflictsociological theories arereflected in the works ofcertain dominant socialtheorists such as Karl Marx,Emile Durkheim and MaxWeber.
Consensus Theory• Emphasizes on social order, stability and social regulation• Social change occurs in a slow and orderly fashion and considered shared norms and values as fundamental factors towards society.• Concerned with the maintenance or the continuation of social order, in relation to accepted norms, values, rules and regulations as widely accepted by the society.
• Consensus is a concept in society in which there is a belief that the absence of conflict means the equilibrium state that is based upon widespread agreement by all of the members of the society itself.• It is being considered in these theories that the social order in society should be maintained, based upon the accepted norms, values, roles or regulations that are accepted by the society in general.
oAccording to HORACE MANN,“ education should be the great equalizer.”oHorace Mann was the one who started the“free public school” movement in the Unitedstates in 1848.
Conflict Theory• The conflict theory emphasizes that the order in society are based upon the manipulation and control by any dominant groups.• Focuses on the struggle of social classes to maintain dominance and power in social systems.• Conflict theories ask how schools contribute to the unequal distribution of people into jobs in society so that more powerful members of society maintain the best positions and the less powerful are allocated to lower ranks in society.
• The theorist of the conflict theory looks on how some of the institutions in society such as religion, government, media, as well as education are in one way or another help in maintaining some privileges of some groups against the other groups.
As the consensus theorist tries to examine on the integration of values in society, the conflict theorist examines about the conflicts of interest between social groups in society. Some sociologists believe that society cannot exist without having both conflict and consensus in society, hence, they are considered as prerequisites on each others existence. They further considered that there is no conflict in society if there is no some prior consensus that exists.