Functionalism is one of the major theories in Sociology of education.
Provide a brief explanation of what Sociology of education as discipline entails. (10)

The works of Emile Durkheim focus on how social order is possible and how society can remain stable despite the many influences that can destabilise social order.

With the above in mind, briefly explain Durkheim’s point of view regarding the role of educational institutions to uphold the equilibrium between individual rights and the interest of society. (10)

Conflict Theory recognises the inharmonious nature of families, but assert the family’s ability to deal with differences, change and conflict.

Briefly address the link between Conflict Theory (Marxism) and the dominant role of the family. (10)

In general, Conflict Theory argues that there are inequalities amongst the dominant group and all the other groups in every society when assessing at the structures of wealth, power and status in a society. These structures maintain the social economic, political and coercive power of one group at the expense of the others.

Briefly discuss in your own words what Conflict Theorists mean by “inequalities” and indicate how different aims and aspirations, statuses and opportunities give rise to these inequalities in society. Also, provide an example to substantiate your argument. (10)

Symbolic interactionism takes place when people interact with each other by means of symbols.

Briefly argue the principles of symbolic interactionism and how it applies to society. (10)

Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model of Human Development proposed a conceptual and operational network that divides the environment into different levels.

Differentiate between the five levels of Bronfenbrenner’s theory which position the family and school in the social system context. (10)

Functionalist argue that their members not only function as a unit, but that their members perform different tasks.

Indicate how role differentiation and social solidarity are two primary requirements of social life. (10)


Promoting patriotism in post-apartheid South African schools is important.

Argue this point in detail and indicate why, according to Brighthouse (2008), patriotism should be promoted in local schools. (10)

Class is a large-scale grouping of people who share common economic resources, influencing the types of lifestyle they lead.

Briefly elaborate on the Marxist and Functionalist points of view on class, with special reference to the South African context. (10)

Culture defines acceptable ways of behaving for members of a particular society and to a large degree, culture determines how members of society think and feel: It directs their actions and defines their outlook on life.

Briefly discuss what the concept of “culture” entails. (10)

Answers to Above Questions on Sociology

Answer 1: The sociology of education is all about understanding the ways in which education plays an important role in society. The main focus of researchers in the case of sociology of education is on analysing different aspects of the educational system which could be described as the schools, colleges and universities with the objective of learning their impact on the society. Functionalism is considered as an important theory in sociology of education.

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