Essay On Culture And Identity

Words: 3312
Pages: 14


This essay will aim to critically analyse and evaluate the contribution of modern and post modern perspectives to a sociological understanding of culture and identity. This will be achieved by analysing similarities and differences between three contrasting sociological theories and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses. Studies will be included as the debate is developed further and their contributions will also be explained.
Culture is defined simply as the way of life of a group of people. This relates to how they live their lives, the patterns of social organisation and the ‘norms’ they are expected to follow. Culture varies between societies and across time. It is an extremely important part of everyday
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They refer to how the structure of social relationships in education relate to those at work and propose that the syllabus and exams taken by pupils are not as important to capitalist society as the ‘Hidden Curriculum’ is. The organisation of education as a whole, and specific forms of teaching and learning are essential in capitalist societies and they conclude that they provide subliminal conditioning to ensure an obedient, subservient workforce in the future. This is an extension of earlier socialisation and shapes the identities of individuals further as their role within school life is conditioned in preparation for the labour market (Haralambos & Holborn 2008, p.688). The study also aims to show how different social groups are taught different values which also contribute to the shaping of identities (Sweeney et al 2003, p.203).
In a study of 237 pupils conducted in a New York school, Bowles and Gintis concluded that teachers were giving higher grades based on what could be termed personality and not necessarily academic ability. Those pupils who were punctual, obedient and dependable etc received higher grades than pupils who displayed independence or aggressiveness. They also propose that education operates on a form of hierarchy where the pupils are under the control of the teachers, subjects learned etc. Their argument is developed further as they claim that as pupils move from