Allocation Function refers to the method by which people are selected and allocated social places and social roles within the occupational role structure of a society. The system of stratification and the institution of education plays a significant role in carrying out this process.
Allocation Function in the U.S.
Education is an essential component of American society’s vast network of social stratification. Education as an institution not only reflects the status distinction of society but also adds to the nation’s continual process of stratification. It does this by choosing and distributing people to occupational tasks based on specific criteria that are compatible with the whole community’s social ordering.
In general, educational achievements and social standing are impacted by ascribed and achieved characteristics. Ascribed status refers to the assignment of prestige based on birth-related characteristics. Among them are a person’s sex, race, birth order, and socioeconomic class or stratum into which they are born, which is of particular significance to this study. On the other hand, achieved status entails the acquisition of prestige based on the individual’s socially recognized achievements.
Before the twentieth century, occupations in the United States were primarily filled based on ascription. The attributed factor of one’s father’s employment had a significant role in allocating employment into the adult occupational system.
Today, the situation has drastically altered. Now, more than ever before in the history of American culture, occupational jobs are filled based on accomplishments and societal achievements. As a result of the relative change from ascribed to achieved status, the allocation function of education has grown more significant.
Education has become the primary institution that serves as the foundation for choosing, sorting, training, and deploying persons within the occupational hierarchy. Although ascriptive influences are less significant than they formerly were, they continue to work, sometimes silently and sometimes more obviously. As a result, complex and interconnected ascribed and achieved elements are established in the allotment of education resources.