Sociological Imagination: Western’s Undergraduate Sociology Student Journal


The relationship between education and social mobility has been of interest to sociologists since the 1950s. This paper examines the role of education in the reproduction of labour market inequalities through the mechanisms of class, gender, and race-ethnicity. Both functionalist and conflict perspectives will be applied to explain the purpose of formal schooling, and signaling theory will be used to explain the significance of academic qualifications in the labour market. Ultimately, the examination of these mechanisms demonstrates how the hidden curriculum of schooling lends itself to the reproduction rather than the upward transmission of social mobility. The ruling class maintains its privilege in the labour market through a system that falsely promotes the ideas of equal opportunity and meritocracy in education.