The sociology of military education in Germany in functionalist perspective


Term Paper, 2021

9 Pages, Grade: 1,0

Anonymous


Excerpt

Table of contents

1. Introdruction

2. Definition of terms
2.1 Sociology education in functionalist perspective
2.2 Military eduaction in Germany

3. Meaning of military education in German society in functionalist perspective

4. Conclusion

5. References

1. Introdruction

“(…) Education must teach people self-discipline; education is essential if society is to remain orderly1 ”. These pedagogical findings of Èmile Durkheim studies haven’t lost their relevance in our present time when it comes to the question of the meaning and importance of education in our society. These aspects - self-discipline and order - are especially determine in the principles that represent soldiers in the military. This connection should give rise to drawing parallels between military education in a functionalist perspective and the understanding and implementation of it in German society. From the functionalist perspective of Durkheim the aim of education in a society is to produce “ideal adults” in order that to ensure the overriding goal, specifically the functioning and survival of society2. Can the values and virtues that can be imparted by a military education and that constitute and should be represented by a German soldier lead the way to the aim of an "ideal adult" described by Durkheim?

This thesis and the question how the reality in Germany is related to military education within society will be answered in this term paper. With the background of the consequences of the Second World War on the view of an army of the German population and the bad acceptance of the Bundeswehr in the society, the view of a military education is a different one, compared to the U.S for example. Unlike in the U.S, where military education is partially integrated into the school system in Germany military education is only provided by the military itself or in small private settings. The aim of this term paper is to find out what is the meaning of military education in German society in functionalist perspective.

2. Definition of terms

2.1 Sociology education in functionalist perspective

“Education is, then, only the means by which society prepares, within children, the essential conditions of its very existence 3 ”.

According to Durkheims functionalist approach there are three main goals of education: First of all the establishment of sociology as a discipline of academic standing, secondly to use the approaches of nature science to the study of society and lastly to discover how an orderly society was maintained in context of a modern world4. For the following term paper I will only refer to the third aim of Durkheims functionalist approach because there can be drawn the best similarities with military education in functionalist perspective in the present time. It is assumed that there is an ideal education that corresponds to the goals and values of society and because of this idea there can be seen a close correlation established between education and the society. Thus, according to Durkheim's idea, education contributes significantly to a functioning society and to its survival5.

A social system can be understood as a system of values. In this system, according to Radcliffe-Brown, there are several adaptations of human forms of coexistence. Among other things, he speaks of the "socializing" adaptation, which is understood as “social process by which an individual acquires habits and mental characteristics that fit him for a place in the social life and enable him to participate in its activities.6

The idea in the functionalist perspective of sociology of an “ideal adult”, education is in its basic features a moral education. Morality can be understood as the influence of duties, standards of responsibilities and obligations to the behaviour of the human beings and as the final result “moral ideal” composed of ideas and beliefs imprints itself into the thoughts of the society what creates a bond between them7.

2.2 Military eduaction in Germany

When we talk about military education in Germany we have to look at it in a historical and social context:

After the end of the Second World War, "Never again!" was deeply imprinted in the German subconscious for generations, resulting in a deep-rooted pacifism that persists to this day among some Germans of all political persuasions. The "never again" and the absolute will that never again such horrors should happen are beyond question. But this knowledge of the terrible past of one's own country shaped the subconscious about the future attitude towards all foreign and domestic militarism and German claim to leadership in world politics, with the result of strategic goals8. Particularly with the beginning of the Bundeswehr's foreign missions in the 1990s, the discussion about the participation of German armed forces in military operations flared up again. The resistance to military action on the part of the SPD and Alliance 90/The Greens was broken at the beginning of this period, as the need for military operations was also seen by the left-leaning parties.9 The former Chancellor of the SPD, Gerhard Schröder said in this context that to overthrow the Hitler dictatorship,

"it took patriots and soldiers. Because we Germans know this, we are not pacifists. But neither are we lightly prepared to resort to military means. But where military intervention was and is necessary, Germany does not shirk its responsibility for peace and human rights.10 "

Nevertheless for many decades the Bundeswehr has struggled with an acceptance problem. Due to the suspension of compulsory military service the army is increasingly losing its ties with society and is thus less and less present to the citizens. In some cases, representatives of the Bundeswehr are forbidden to enter schools and foreign deployments are also received rather negatively by society11. The Bundeswehr thus has few points of contact with society which is why many tend to be skeptical of it and only heard about the Bundeswehr from the prejudices of others.

For this reason the Bundeswehr has been trying for years to increase its attractiveness for new recruits and lateral entrants through a lot of media advertising via billboards, flyers, advertising in social networks and documentaries on Youtube.

3. Meaning of military education in German society in functionalist perspective

Durkheim believed, that “(…) the future of a cohesive society rested on the maintenance of a moral code of social obligations and duties which both benefited the individual as well as society12 ”. The teaching of basic democratic values, knowledge of personal and foreign rights and duties, and international humanitarian law characterizes soldiers of democratic armies13. Education is the key for maintain an orderly society in the modern world with the goal of “ideal adults” with “moral ideal”. Thus, parallels can be drawn here between the ideas of functionalist education and soldierly values and commitments. These values, which constitute an “ideal adult” for functionalists like Durkheim, are to be lived and exemplified by German soldiers and all soldiers of democratic states. Self-discipline and order characterize a soldier and according to the functionalist understanding, these are values that are to be conveyed through education and are thus the basis for a functioning society.

The "inner Leadership14 ”, the leadership philosophy of the Bundeswehr sees the soldier as a "citizen in uniform15 " who is supposed to represent these values and virtues of duty, discipline and morality16. As a citizen in uniform he is an integral part of the society. Already in the basic training the recruits of the German Federal Armed Forces are taught the soldierly duties written down in the soldier law, which he has to learn, to carry out and to live. At the beginning of their service, soldiers are taught not only their rights, but also duties, such as standing up for the basic democratic order or the soldier's basic duty to bravely defend Germany17.

Unlike in the U.S, where military education is partially integrated into the school system for example the “Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps” (JROTC) which is a federal program for pupils from high schools and middle schools to "instill in students in United States secondary educational institutions the values of citizenship, service to the United States, and personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment18 ”, quoted from the official page of this program, in Germany military education is only provided by the military itself or in small private settings which also have a military background. Since compulsory military service has been suspended in Germany since 2011, a citizen will only come into contact with military education in the form of voluntary military service or with the conscious decision to join the Bundeswehr as a regular soldier. Programs of the school system and general learning institutions with the German Armed Forces are almost non-existent or are largely regarded as negative or as militarizing influence on the children19. As a result, it can already be concluded here that military education has little to no influence on the school system and thus the education of children and is inly imparted in the military itself.

[...]


1 Blackledge, D. & Hunt, B. (1991): Sociological Interpretations of Education. p.7.

2 Saha, Lawrence (2001): Durkheim’s Sociology of Education: A Critical Reassessment. p.26

3 Durkheim, Émile, William Sherwood Fox, and Talcott Parsons (1956): Education and sociology. p.71

4 Blackledge, D. & Hunt, B. (1991): Sociological Interpretations of Education. p.7.

5 Saha, Lawrence (2001): Durkheim’s Sociology of Education: A Critical Reassessment. p.25ff.

6 Compare Schulze, Hans-Joachim, Künzler, Jan (1991): Funktionalistische und systemtheoretische Ansätze in der Sozialisationsforschung. p.122ff. quoted from Radcliffe-Brown 1971, p.124f.

7 Saha, Lawrence (2001): Durkheim’s Sociology of Education: A Critical Reassessment. p.26

8 Compare https://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/deutschland-75-jahre-nach-kriegsende-die-deutschen-muessen-ihren-instinktiven-pazifismus-hinterfragen/25794194.html [acces: 28.01.2021]

9 Compare Gareis, Sven Bernhard; Klein, Paul (Hrsg.) (2006): Handbuch Militär und Sozialwissenschaft. 2., aktualisierte und erweiterte Auflage. Wiesbaden. p.100.

10 Ibid. quoted from Schröder 2004. Translated by the author: „brauchte es Patrioten und Soldaten. Weil wir Deutsche das wissen, sind wir keine Pazifisten. Wir sind aber auch nicht leichthin bereit, zu militärischen Mitteln zu greifen. Wo militärisches Eingreifen jedoch nötig war und ist, entzieht sich Deutschland seiner Verantwortung für Frieden und Menschenrechte nicht.“

11 Compare https://www.bpb.de/apuz/170808/bundeswehr-und-gesellschaft [acces: 26.01.2021]

12 Saha, Lawrence (2001): Durkheim’s Sociology of Education: A Critical Reassessment. p.26

13 Compare Gareis, Sven Bernhard; Klein, Paul (Hrsg.) (2006): Handbuch Militär und Sozialwissenschaft. 2., aktualisierte und erweiterte Auflage. Wiesbaden. p.130.

14 „Innere Führung” translation by the author

15 „Staatsbürger in Uniform” translation by the author

16 Bundesministerium für Verteidigung (2010): Innere Führung. Selbstverständnis und Führungskultur der Bundeswehr. Bonn. p.3ff.

17 Bundesministerium der Justiz und für Verbraucherschutz (1956): Gesetz über die Rechtstellung der Soldaten (Soldatengesetz – SG).

18 http://www.usarmyjrotc.com/general/program_overview.php [acces: 21.01.2021]

19 https://www.gew.de/schule/bundeswehr/einfluss-der-bundeswehr-an-schulen-zurueckdraengen/ [access: 21.01.2021]

Excerpt out of 9 pages

Details

Title
The sociology of military education in Germany in functionalist perspective
College
Helmut Schmidt University - University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg
Course
Wissenschaftstheorie und Methodologie: Sociological Perspectives on Education
Grade
1,0
Year
2021
Pages
9
Catalog Number
V1173840
Language
English
Keywords
sociology, Soziologie, military, education, military education, germany, functionalist, functionalist perspective
Quote paper
Anonymous, 2021, The sociology of military education in Germany in functionalist perspective, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1173840

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