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21 JANUARY 2013

Hyper-connectivity is transforming the nature of identity

"Social networks such as Facebook and on–line gaming are changing people's view of who they are and their place in the world, according to a report for the government's chief scientist. The report, published by Prof Sir John Beddington, says that traditional ideas of identity will be less meaningful. ... It states that the changing nature of identities will have substantial implications for what is meant by communities and by social integration.

The study shows that traditional elements that shape a person's identity, such as their religion, ethnicity, job and age are less important than they once were. Instead, particularly among younger people, their view of themselves is shaped increasingly by on–line interactions of social networks and on online role playing games.

The study found that far from creating superficial or fantasy identities that some critics suggest, in many cases it allowed people to escape the preconceptions of those immediately around them and find their 'true' identity. This is especially true of disabled people who told researchers that online gaming enabled them to socialise on an equal footing with others."

(Pallab Ghosh, 21 January 2013, BBC News)

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TAGS

2013civic engagementcountry of origincultural identitycyberpsychologyDepartment for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) • differently enabled • digital identitydisability and social networksethnicityflash mobs • Future Identities (report) • Government Office for Sciences Foresight • greater connectivity • hyper-connectivity • hyperconnectedidentity constructionidentity performanceinterlinked dataInternet • John Beddington • LARPoccupational identitiesonline and real world identitiesonline interactions • Pallab Ghosh • personal life • place in the world • religious identity • role playing gamessmart mobssmart phonesocial changesocial cohesion • social exclusion • social identity • social integration • social networking sitessocial networkstraditional society • work identities • workplace

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
22 JUNE 2012

pedagogic discourse and practice: strong and weak classification

"The concept of classification is at the heart of Bernstein's theory of pedagogic discourse and practice. Classification refers to 'the degree of boundary maintenance between contents' (Bernstein 1973a, p. 205; 1973b, p. 88) and is concerned with the insulation or boundaries between curricular categories (areas of knowledge and subjects). Strong classification refers to a curriculum that is highly differentiated and separated into traditional subjects; weak classification refers to a curriculum that is integrated and in which the boundaries between subjects are fragile."

(Alan R. Sadovnik, 2001)

Prospects: the quarterly review of comparative education (Paris, UNESCO: International Bureau of Education), vol. XXXI, no. 4, December 2001, p. 687–703. UNESCO: International Bureau of Education, 2001

TAGS

Alan Sadovnik • areas of knowledge and subjects • Basil Bernsteinboundaries • boundaries between curricular categories • boundaries between subjects are fragile • boundary maintenance • classification and framing • classification and framing rules • code theory • collection codes • communication codes • control • curricular categories • curricular change • curriculumcurriculum development • degree of boundary maintenance between contents • disciplinary model • educational practices • educational transmission • Emile Durkheimfreedom • highly differentiated • inclusive education • insulation • integrated • integrated curriculum • integrated curriculum codes • invisible • legitimate message • mechanical solidaritymodern societyorganic solidarityorganisation of knowledgepedagogic discoursepedagogic practicepedagogic practicespedagogyprofanerules of communicationsacredschooling • separated • social classstrong classification • strong framing • strongly classified curriculum • theory of pedagogic discourse and practice • traditional society • traditional subjects • transmission of knowledgeUNESCOweak classification • weak framing • weakly classified curriculum

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
10 APRIL 2011

Classification and framing in pedagogic discourse and practice

"The concept of classification is at the heart of Bernstein's theory of pedagogic discourse and practice. Classification refers to 'the degree of boundary maintenance between contents' (Bernstein 1973a, p. 205; 1973b, p. 88) and is concerned with the insulation or boundaries between curricular categories (areas of knowledge and subjects). Strong classification refers to a curriculum that is highly differentiated and separated into traditional subjects; weak classification refers to a curriculum that is integrated and in which the boundaries between subjects are fragile.

Using the concept of classification, Bernstein outlined two types of curriculum codes: collection and integrated codes. The first refers to a strongly classified curriculum; the latter, to a weakly classified curriculum. In keeping with his Durkheimian project, Bernstein analyzed the way in which the shift from collection to integrated curriculum codes represents the evolution from mechanical to organic solidarity (or from traditional to modern society), with curricular change marking the movement from the sacred to the profane.

Whereas classification is concerned with the organization of knowledge into curriculum, framing is related to the transmission of knowledge through pedagogic practices. Framing refers to the location of control over the rules of communication and, according to Bernstein (1990), 'if classification regulates the voice of a category then framing regulates the form of its legitimate message' (p. 100). Furthermore, 'frame refers to the degree of control teacher and pupil possess over the selection, organization, pacing and timing of the knowledge transmitted and received in the pedagogical relationship' (1973b, p. 88). Therefore, strong framing refers to a limited degree of options between teacher and students; weak framing implies more freedom.

Bernstein developed this approach into a systematic analysis of pedagogic discourse and practices. First, he outlined a theory of pedagogic rules that examined the 'intrinsic features which constitute and distinguish the specialized form of communication realized by the pedagogic discourse of education' (Bernstein, 1990, p. 165). Second, he related his theory of pedagogic discourse to a social–class base and applied it to the ongoing development of different educational practices (Bernstein, 1990, p. 63–93).

The concept of code was central to Bernstein's sociology. From the outset of its use in his work on language (restricted and elaborated codes), code refers to a 'regulative principle which underlies various message systems, especially curriculum and pedagogy' (Atkinson, 1985, p. 136). Curriculum and pedagogy are considered message systems, and with a third system, evaluation, they constitute the structure and processes of school knowledge, transmission and practice. As Bernstein (1973b) noted: 'Curriculum defines what counts as valid knowledge, pedagogy defines what counts as valid transmission of knowledge, and evaluation defines what counts as a valid realization of the knowledge on the part of the taught' (p. 85). Thus, his theory of education must be understood in terms of the concepts of classification, framing and evaluation, and their relationship to the structural aspects of his sociological project.

Following this earlier work on curriculum and pedagogic practice was a detailed analysis of pedagogic discourse that presented a complex analysis of the recontextualization of knowledge through the pedagogic device (see Bernstein, 1990). Bernstein's work on pedagogic discourse was concerned with the production, distribution and reproduction of official knowledge and how this knowledge is related to structurally determined power relations. What is critical is that Bernstein was concerned with more than the description of the production and transmission of knowledge; he was concerned with its consequences for different groups.

Bernstein's analysis of pedagogic practice looked at the process and content of what occurs inside schools. His theory of pedagogic practice examined a series of rules considered both how these rules affect the content to be transmitted and, perhaps more important, how they 'act selectively on those who can successfully acquire it.' From an analysis of these rules, Bernstein examined 'the social class assumptions and consequences of forms of pedagogic practice' (Bernstein, 1990, p. 63). Finally, he applied this theory to conservative/traditional versus progressive/child centred) practices. He differentiated between a pedagogic practice that is dependent on the economic market–that emphasizes vocational education–and another that is independent and autonomous of the market–that is legitimated by the autonomy of knowledge. Bernstein concluded that both, despite their claims to the contrary, would not eliminate the reproduction of class inequalities. Through a consideration of the inner workings of the types of educational practice, Bernstein contributed to a greater understanding of how schools reproduce what they are ideologically committed to eradicating–social–class advantages in schooling and society.

Bernstein's analysis of the social–class assumptions of pedagogic discourse and practice is the foundation for linking microeducational processes to the macrosociological levels of social structure and class and power relations. His thesis was that there are significant differences in the social–class assumptions of visible and invisible pedagogy and despite these differences there may indeed be similar outcomes, especially in the reproduction of power and symbolic control. Thus, from his early work on code theory to the more recent works in Class, codes and control, volumes 4 and 5 on pedagogic discourse, (1990, p. 165–218) and on pedagogic practices (1990; 1996), Bernstein's project sought to link microprocesses (language, transmission, and pedagogy) to macroforms–to how cultural and educational codes and the content and process of education are related to social class and power relations."

(Alan R. Sadovnik, 2001)

Prospects: English [2] French [3] Spainish [4] the quarterly review of comparative education (Paris, UNESCO: International Bureau of Education), vol. XXXI, no. 4, December 2001, p. 687–703. UNESCO: International Bureau of Education, 2001

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
29 DECEMBER 2003

Urban Theory: Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft

A key "analyst of the transformation from the pre–urban to the urban was Ferdinand Toennies. Toennies published an influential book, Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft (Community and Society) in 1887. In this, he laid out the characteristics of two stages, the first was Gemeinschaft. Here, human relations are intimate, enduring and based upon a clear understanding of where each person stands in society. The worth of the individual is related to the person rather than what they have done, so status is ascribed and not achieved. The second stage, which increasingly characterised industrial society, was Gesellschaft. Here, the large scale and impersonal shapes human relations and the contractual ties that were apparently increasing. Status was achieved rather than ascribed, giving greater importance to individual actions and motivations, Toennies thus saw society as moving through a transition from one form of social organisation to another, and his work is an attempt to theorise about the changes that industrialisation A at the level of social relationships, and social groups.Of the two stages, Gemeinschaft is based on homogeneity, group orientation, informed and shaped by tradition, and guided by sentiment With each person feeling that they are part of the overall community (Table 2.1). Being a member of the community was more important than doing one's own thing. Thus individual desires were subordinate to those of the wider group. The collective nature of society meant that individuals were not specialised and so were 'Jacks and Jills of all trades'. Finally, primary relationships, that is face–to–face relationships between friends and close kin, were the most typical form.In contrast, in Gesellschaft, heterogeneity was the normal basis for society with a greater emphasis upon individualism. Individuals are guided by rationality and by actions which enhance their own self interest rather than the collective interests of the community or wider society. Tasks are specialised so, rather than 'Jacks and Jills of all trades', people become experts or specialists in particular tasks. A consequence of this is that they have to link up with others to get tasks completed. Relationships, rather than being based around a knowledge of the whole person, are more transitory and linked to the accomplishment of defined tasks. For each task, a particular combination of people are grouped together but once the task is finished the reason for that association is lost. Thus, relationships are more fluid than under the Gemeinschaft–based society.Table 2.1 illustrates the contrast between community and society that gradually became a major organising theme for this group of nineteenth–century social theorists. The terminology is a little different across the theorists. However, the differences are relatively minor as they all focus upon the idea of a contrasting typology based around notions of community and society.

Twentieth–century writing within this tradition developed more complex typologies of 'contrast' and built what became known as the rural–urban continuum. Most of the contrasts developed identified the 'rural' with the small–scale, integrated social group and set this against the 'urban' which was seen as larger in scale and more individualistic in orientation (see [Wirth, L. 1938. 'Urbanism as a Way of Life'. American Journal of Sociology 44, 1–24], [Redfield, R. 1960. The Little Community Peasant Society and Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press], [Pahl, R.E. 1975. Whose City? (2nd edn). Harmondsworth: Penguin])."

(David C. Thorns, 2002, p.24)

Thorns, David. C. (2002). "The Transformation of Cities: Urban Theory and Urban Cities": Palgrave Macmillan. 0333745973.


Gemeinschaft Gesellschaft
homogeneityheterogeneity
group orientedindividual oriented
tradition dominatesbusiness and commerce dominate
individual guided by sentimentindividual guided by rationality
each person part of the overall culturepreponderance of subcultures
each person jack–of–all tradesjob specialisation
relationships among people valuable in and of themselvesrelationships transitory, superficial
primary relationships predominatesecondary relationships predominate

Table 2.1

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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