Families, Childrearing, and Education
Max Weber and Pitirim Sorokin, considering whole societies, had important things to say about the family and education in relation to social stratification and mobility. The Parsonian interpretation begins at the level of structural and normative change in societies but almost at once turns to the Durkheimian question of the place of family and school in processes of socialization. As social differentiation has progressed, families have lost functions to specialist organizations. Middle-class families wanted their children to be educated, but they lacked the land and large inheritances that could support an enclosed, multifunctional household in which a child's education could be accomplished. The child is likely to encounter strains entailed by the move from the warmth and particularism of the family to the school's organization around effective neutrality, achievement, and universalism. The Parsonian interpretation shortchanges the family as a participant in the process.