Freedom and Justice - Essay Example

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Although the United States is home to some of the best colleges and universities in the world, access to higher education in this country is not always equal…
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Freedom and Justice
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freedom and justice and number Freedom and Justice Higher education is a fascinating to analyze from the perspective of freedom, justice and accessibility. Although the United States is home to some of the best colleges and universities in the world, access to higher education in this country is not always equal. Through the application of theory, higher education in the United States will be thoroughly investigated. Furthermore, the theme of higher education will be discussed by looking at how elites maintain supremacy through higher education. Using conflict theory, we will ask, how accessible is higher education in the United States? How affordable is higher education for Americans? What sorts of conflicts has higher education produced? These questions and many more will be addressed and applied to a holistic analysis of higher education in the United States.
Conflict theory evolved from Marxism and focuses on what it perceives are inherent conflicts within society. Marxists perceive conflict to be endemic when resources are scarce and argue that our social system – capitalism – is the most unequal system when it comes to resource allocation and distribution. Private property, capital and social classes are all important characteristics of an inegalitarian society. An unequal division of labour and class exploitation is said to lead to conflict according to this theory (Wallerstein, 1974). A Conflict Theorist would immediately point out the inequalities surrounding higher education in the United States and would argue that higher education promotes class difference and exploitation of the masses. Seeing higher education as a tool for upward social mobility, Conflict Theorists would assert that the lack of accessibility of higher education in the United States maintains the unequal status between social classes, ensuring that the wealthy remain wealthy and the poor in America remain poor. Conflict Theorists point out that exorbitant costs to attend colleges and universities ensure that only the wealthy can access higher education and thus reaps the benefit of having a Bachelors Degree, Masters Degree or PhD. Affordability, or lack thereof, essentially promotes the existing class structure to the detriment of the greater society. The implication is a society stratified by class and educational attainment. Those without access to the elite ivory towers of America’s universities and colleges will forever remain in the bottom rung of society. Conflict will exist between those who have the means to attend university and those who do not, as well as among university and colleges students who are all seeking to obtain the same rewards in a society in which conflict is endemic and resources are inherently scarce. Accordingly, Conflict Theorists would postulate that due to intrinsic inequalities within the higher education system in the United States, conflict is endemic and inherent to the social system (Schaefer, 2008).
Conflict Theorists emphasize the stark inequalities within the US educational system with regards to access, cost and social stratification. A fascinating subject to analyze from the perspective of freedom, justice and inequality, higher education remains an important priority for Americans and an increasingly controversial subject in an era of rising tuition and growing income disparity.
Schaefer, R.T. (2008). Sociology: A Brief Introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Wallerstein, I. M. (1974). The Modern World-System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Academic Press. Read More
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