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Check Out Our Credentials and the Concept of Gatekeeping Essay

A credential society is one whereby the need to have university and/or professional qualifications such as certificates, diplomas or degrees is overemphasised. The social status of a person or his ability to secure and  retain a respectable job are heavily reliant on the above factors. This has been especially true in the US.

The credential value of jobs in the United States of America has been rising continuously over the decades. In the 1960’s this rise in the credential qualifications began to be consciously viewed as inflationary. At this point in time, there was near universal high school completion and at least half the youth attended college. The effect of this is that completing high school an attending college were no longer valued goals as they were no longer a guarantee of a respectable job. There was also immense pressure especially by the blacks and Latin Americans to be integrated into the main learning and occupational organizations. The rise of a credential society has led to higher levels of unemployment as each and every job now requires higher qualifications. This has certainly affected the youth who constitute a big percentage of the overall number of jobseekers.

Gatekeeping can be described as the act of controlling or filtering something e.g. information before its dissemination. This in turn limits its access. Gatekeeping is a source of power as it places some people in privileged positions where they can regulate access to goods, services or even information. I have ever been a beneficially of gatekeeping in a situation where I watched a game of football for free because the person selling tickets was my brother’s friend.

The functionalist approach is sometimes justified as sometimes the information in question may be sensitive. Gatekeeping is extensively used when dealing with sensitive security information. This is very important as accessibility of such information may hamper the ability of security personnel to deal with criminals or even cause unwarranted tensions among the general public. In this case, both the general public and security personnel are beneficiaries of gatekeeping.

The conflict position of gatekeeping is also true as some powerful individuals use it to protect their privileged position in the American social class system. This is because they use the positions they have to influence the political direction of the country e.g. through funding campaigns. Those in the corporate sector reveal information that may not be available to the general public about tenders, rights issues to businesspeople or other people affiliated to them. This not only to preserve their social status but also betters it.

From the overall position, the functionalist approach is more justified due to the very important benefits regarding security that it is associated with. On the other hand, the conflict position of gatekeeping promotes some kind of inequality which makes it unattractive as it promotes social imbalance.

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