Elite Ideological Advocacy: Perspectives on Neo-Marxian Theory on Education in Zimbabwe

By Aleck, Mapindani | Journal of Pan African Studies, November 2015 | Go to article overview

Elite Ideological Advocacy: Perspectives on Neo-Marxian Theory on Education in Zimbabwe


Aleck, Mapindani, Journal of Pan African Studies


Introduction

Education is a term used inclusively to denote both the formal and informal indoctrination of academic concepts, ideas, theories to people, but ideologically and conceptually mediocre, in preparation, especially for future occupational or societal placement. This education includes the hidden curriculum meant to assimilate and adjust to their teachers' codes of social expectations, as a process of their grooming, if they are guided into the professional environment.

This study is set to revolve around Karl Marx's theory via a neo-Marxist approach that views society as pivoted on the economic strength and autonomy of the individuals concerned. Neo-Marxism can be defined as a term loosely applied to any social theory or sociological analysis which draws on the ideas of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, but amends or extends them by incorporating elements from other intellectual traditions such as psychoanalysis, Weberian sociology, or anarchism (Marshall and Scott 2005). Placing the neo-Marxist theory in a Zimbabwean setting, this paper is mandated to ravel an investigatory insight into the nature of the Zimbabwean education system infringing bourgeoisie ethics and values. It also surveys the multifarious treatments directed towards a variety of stratified classes within education where the less privileged are destined to suffer lifelong disadvantages in their attempts to reach at goals set beyond their social, economic and academic circles--obviously at socio-economic zones where attempting is an ill-advised endeavor.

Methodology

This work adopts a qualitative approach, and it takes as its core techniques of data collection, the employment of interviews, observation and document analysis. As for the information in this paper, besides having read some related commending documents on the Zimbabwean educational manipulations and categorical hassles, the writer is an insider (a Zimbabwean among the less privileged fellows) that heavily made use of his intuitive knowledge and experience to bring to light some of the issues that mark the educational divisions and imbalances in a Zimbabwean setting. Thus, observatory engagements, opinion, and face-to-face interviews marked the benefiting basic forms of gathering the needed data for this paper.

Theoretical Base

This study also benefits from French sociologist Bourdieu's 1974 ideology of cultural reproduction which refers to the various ways the cultures of the haves are maintained or reproduced by the education system (Gwirayi 2010). This embodies the ideological mechanisms affecting society and the education system in which the higher classes are in control of everything, with the education sector being part of the most targeted and dominated of institutions. Marking a summative closure to the concept under scrutiny, Ritzer (2007) unravels the following elaborative that:

   Cultural reproduction is frequently considered to describe how
   cultural forms (e.g., social inequality, privilege, elite status,
   ethnicity) and cultures themselves are transmitted intact, from one
   generation to another. This idea emanates strongly from original
   work by Pierre Bourdieu in the 1970s on the role of the education
   process in reproducing class inequality and from such ethnographic
   classics as Paul Willis's Learning to Labour (1977) that showed how
   inequality could be reproduced culturally despite the best efforts
   of a benevolent education system.

In this light, the economically muscled classes are piercingly audible voices and have the power and confidence to air their views with very little or no regard on their ideas' far-reaching impact upon the general public. Indisputably, the privileged classes translate themselves as the owners and manipulators of the education system in whose ethics lie manifest the projected route the education system is inexorably bound to trail. Thus, the theory insists on the self-given administrative prowess and domineering ambiance attained through affluence that impulsively guide the management and administration of education systems concerned, despite the firm and unyielding academic and administrative standards ostensibly democratic from different schools. …

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