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Toolkits, Translation Devices and Conceptual Accounts

Essays on Basil Bernstein’s Sociology of Knowledge


Edited By Parlo Singh, Alan R. Sadovnik and Susan F. Semel

For over four decades, Basil Bernstein researched ‘the internal organisation and educational context of the school’ specifically, and educational systems generally. In particular, he was interested in the powerful forms of knowledge transmitted through schooling systems; who gained access to these forms of knowledge; how they did so; and with what consequences. His research began by examining the differences between language and communication patterns in the institutions of the home/family and of the school, and extended to examining the structuring of pedagogic discourse from the level of the state to the classroom.
This collection brings together chapters by researchers from South Africa, Portugal, the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia, to build on the theoretical concepts developed by Bernstein to explore issues of access and acquisition to school knowledge. In addition, contributors explore the strengths and limitations of Bernstein’s work for understanding the structuring of educational institutions, as well as the potential of the theory for assisting educators to make a difference in the lives of students.


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Acknowledgments ix


The chapters in this book originally were presented at the Fourth Basil Bernstein Research Symposium at Rutgers-University-Newark in July 2006. The conference would not have been possible without the administrative assistance of Diane Hill, Director of Campus and Community Relations, for ensuring that the important details for housing, food and space were handled in a most effective manner; and Yanique Taylor, Research Assistant in the Ph.D. program in Urban Systems, for her outstanding assistance in the administration of the symposium and in the editing and production of this book. We thank the Chancellor's Office at Rutgers-Newark for making the university available and for their in-kind support. We also thank the Conference Committee, who in addition to the editors included Johan Muller and Sally Power. Their contributions to the selection of the original conference papers and the chapters in this book are greatly appreciated. Finally, we thank Christopher Myers, Director of Peter Lang Publishing, for once again supporting the publication of the fourth collection of papers from the Bernstein symposia. In publishing the first and now the fourth collection as part of our (Sadovnik and Semel) History of Schools and Schooling series, Chris has supported the history of the sociology of education in general and the history of research on the work of Basil Bernstein in particular. Acknowledgments Sadovnik_0 to 7.qxd 2/11/2010 12:30 PM Page ix Sadovnik_0 to 7.qxd 2/11/2010 12:30 PM Page x

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