Download Class, Codes, and Control

Class, Codes, and Control

Basil Bernstein rarely had a good press in the forty-odd years in which he presented his developing theories to the public. Early admiration for his sociolinguistic ‘discoveries’ – of codes which regulate, at a deep-structural level, family beliefs and behaviours and relationships, as well as surface utterances – turned quite quickly into a suspicion that his description o
Basil Bernstein rarely had a good press in the forty-odd years in which he presented his developing theories to the public. Early admiration for his sociolinguistic ‘discoveries’ – of codes which regulate, at a deep-structural level, family beliefs and behaviours and relationships, as well as surface utterances – turned quite quickly into a suspicion that his description of social class difference amounted to a declaration of working class deficit. Although Bernstein’s writings, particularly in the 1990s, became opaque to the point of seeming to be purposefully obscurantist, they have always been enlivened by clear, pithy and punchy statements which left no room for ambiguity about the case he was making. The struggle to achieve an education system which would offer genuinely equal opportunities to children from all class and cultural backgrounds continued to underpin the writing and teaching of his later years.


Author: Basil Bernstein

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