Edited By William M. Reynolds
Chapter One: The Pedagogic Function of Work(ing-Class) Stories:An Exploration of Culture in the Deep South
The Pedagogic Function of Work(ing-Class) Stories: An Exploration of Culture in the Deep South
As Pierre Bourdieu and Jean-Claude Passeron make clear, from the moment we are born into a certain family, a certain neighborhood, a certain class, race, ethnicity, and so on, our primary pedagogy begins. They write, “Pedagogic action entails pedagogic work, a process of inculcation which must last long enough to produce a durable training, i.e., a habitus, the product of internalization of principles of a cultural arbitrary capable of perpetuating itself after pedagogic action has ceased” (1977/1990, p. 31). This pedagogic work does not often entail our parents’ willful effort to teach us anything race- or class-specific when we are, say, 1 or 2 years old. Nonetheless, the very value and belief systems, the very language that is used around us, the very stories we are told or overhear, begin our implicit education—an education that is either reinforced or contradicted later on by the formal schooling that we encounter. Thus, most of us have internalized our home language(s) and worldviews long before formal schooling or the media or other cultural forces bring us to consciously consider our uses of literacy. Understanding Bourdieu and Passeron’s notion of primary pedagogy is central to understanding the value, even the necessity, of ethnographic explorations of community in order to more fully understand the range of worldviews and literate practices that students from various backgrounds bring to...
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