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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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Chapter 8: Exploring the Transmission of Moral Order as Invisible Semiotic Mediator of Tacit Knowledge 121


Made to regulate social relationships in societies as complex as ours, morality itself is very complex. (Durkheim, 2002, p. 173) INTRODUCTION Basil Bernstein’s characterisation of his later theoretical work as an attempt towards ‘a sociology for the transmission of knowledges’ (Bernstein, 2001, pp. 367–368), has stimulated researchers working within a Bernsteinian framework to establish a rela- tion between knowledge and pedagogy and to interpret the classification and framing values of code modalities as realisations of forms of discourse (for exam- ple, Breier, 2003; Gamble, 2004a; Bolton, 2005). There has simultaneously been a move to research studies that not only investigate the effect of students’ social back- ground on educational achievement but that use research findings to develop mod- els of pedagogic practice that lead to the success of all students (for example, Morais and Neves, 2001; Morais, Neves and Pires, 2004; Rose, 2004). Similar trends are discernable in the field of systemic-functional linguistics, whose dialogue with Bernstein’s work dates back to the late 1950s and 1960s (Christie, 1999). Disciplinary fields and subjects have been investigated as linguis- tic/semiotic practices (for example, Halliday and Martin, 1993; Veel, 1999; Christie 2002); as multimodal discourses (O’Halloran, 2005) and through exploration of the C H A P T E R E I G H T JEANNE GAMBLE Exploring the Transmission of Moral Order as Invisible Semiotic Mediator of Tacit Knowledge Sadovnik_8 to 11.qxd 2/11/2010 12:31 PM Page 121 question ‘what enables the move into vertical discourse?’ (Christie and Martin, 2007)...

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