durkheim education theory

Durkheim education theory There are several major manifest functions associated with education. The first is socialization. Beginning in preschool and kindergarten, students are taught to

durkheim education theory

Durkheim education theory
School systems in the United States also transmit the core values of the nation through manifest functions like social control. One of the roles of schools is to teach students conformity to law and respect for authority. Obviously, such respect, given to teachers and administrators, will help a student navigate the school environment. This function also prepares students to enter the workplace and the world at large, where they will continue to be subject to people who have authority over them. Fulfillment of this function rests primarily with classroom teachers and instructors who are with students all day.
Functionalists also contend that school, particularly in recent years, is taking over some of the functions that were traditionally undertaken by family. Society relies on schools to teach about human sexuality as well as basic skills such as budgeting and job applications—topics that at one time were addressed by the family.

Durkheim education theory
Evaluating Durkheim on education
Furthermore, the nature of an industrial society, means people have to learn certain skills in order to function in that society and to perform specific economic roles. There are common pieces of knowledge that everyone should have, but there are also specific competencies that different people require in order to play their part in a complex industrial society based on a division of labour.

Durkheim education theory
Taking the above two points together, Durkheim argues that schools provide ‘the necessary homogeneity for social survival and the ‘necessary diversity for social co-operation’.
Education does this by instilling a sense of social solidarity in the individual – which involves instilling a sense of belonging to wider society, a sense of commitment to the importance of working towards society’s goals and a feeling that the society is more important than the individual.

Otherwise, the system would be teaching values inconsistent with society, possibly leading to its own demise. “What point is there,” Durkheim asks, “in imagining a kind of education that would be fatal for the society that put it into practice?”5
The reflection of such changes, however, would not be possible if educational systems were not mirrors of society, albeit on a miniature scale. Changes in society manifest themselves in the educational system because it is constructed by society’s members to, in Durkheim’s words, “express their needs.” In short, society constructs its educational system to promote and reproduce its ideal of what a human should be, especially of what a human being should be as a part of society. In this way, the educational system also becomes a “constraint,” a term that Durkheim uses in the sense of “cultural determination and the influence of socialization.”1 For Durkheim, education becomes a constraint, Steven Lukes explains, “when certain socially given ideas and values are internalized by individuals who thereby acquire certain beliefs, wants and feelings and act in certain ways.”2 Lukes quotes Durkheim as saying that education is thus “`a continuous effort to impose on the child ways of seeing, feeling and acting at which he would not have arrived spontaneously.'”3

Durkheim’s mother, Melanie, was the daughter of a horse merchant. [3] His father Moise, was a regional Chief Rabbi. Moise’s father and grandfather before him had been rabbis as well. As a young boy, it was assumed that Emile would also one day be a rabbi, but it was not to be. After going to college, Durkheim broke with religion altogether. Nevertheless, he always remained part of the Jewish community. In 1887, he married a young embroiderer named Louise Julie Dreyfus, the daughter of a director of a foundry, and together they had two children, Marie Bella (born 1888) and Andre-Armand (born 1892). It is said that Louise was well-educated and helped Emile with his work. Where Emile was austere, Louise was light-hearted. By all accounts, they had a happy marriage. Andre would die in 1915, from an injury sustained in battle in Bulgaria. When waiting to hear news of his son, on the battlefront, he wrote to a close friend, “The image of this exhausted child, alone at the side of a road in the midst of night and fog … that seizes me by the throat.” [4] It is said that the death of his son precipitated Emile Durkheim’s decline and early death, following a stroke (at age 59).
Durkheim wanted sociology recognized as an important discipline, distinct from political economy, psychology, history, or philosophy. He devoted his career to making this happen. He saw sociology as a science that could have practical effects (e.g., better policies). [8] It was not armchair philosophizing. It was also a moral science, whose results could advance society, taking the role that religion and other dying traditions had played in the past. “It would be no distortion to view Durkheim’s entire sociological career as an intransigent and relentless battle fought on two major fronts: against the dark, unfathomable forces of mysticism and despair, on the one hand, and against the unsubstantial ethereal forces of the dilettantic cult of superficiality on the other” (Alpert 1939: 18).