Unit 2 - Key studies


Basil Bernstein - language

Basil Bernstein (1971) – claimed that cultural difference is related to language. Identified two different linguistic codes in use in the UK:


     Elaborated code (middle class) – similar to the language of textbooks and the classroom.

-         Restricted code (working class) – the meanings are less clearly spelled out and are therefore disadvantaged as it is frowned upon in the classroom and educational writing.

He argued that the use of these codes originates in the kind of jobs we do.

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Cultural capital - Bourdieu

Pierre Bourdieu (1997) – described the systematic undermining of working-class choices, knowledge, accent and general confidence as a form of symbolic violence.

Argues that the middle-class child inherits three types of capital (which all equal educational advantage) from their parents:

-         Economic (financial resources)

-         Cultural (attitudes, values and linguistic skills)

-         Social (networks and relationships)

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Material deprivation - Smith & Noble

Smith and Noble (1995) – identify a range of material factors that act as barriers to learning:

-         Lacking somewhere to study and do homework

-         Less access to educational toys, books and games

-         Not being able to participate effectively in school through lack of classroom materials or not going on extra-curricular activities such as trips because of the cost.

-         Less attention from their parents, because of unsocial working hours etc

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