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03 JANUARY 2013

The Value of Culture: Two Cultures

"Melvyn Bragg considers the 150–year history of the Two Cultures debate. In 1959 the novelist C.P. Snow delivered a lecture in Cambridge suggesting that intellectual life had become divided into two separate cultures: the arts and the humanities. The lecture is still celebrated for the furore it provoked – but Snow was returning to a battleground almost a century old. Melvyn Bragg visits the old Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, scene of many of modern science's greatest triumphs, to put the Two Cultures debate in its historical context – and Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, reveals the influence the Two Cultures debate had on his development as a scientist."

(Melvyn Bragg, 2013)

"The Value of Culture: Two Cultures", Radio broadcast, Episode 3 of 5, Duration: 42 minutes, First broadcast: Wednesday 02 January 2013, Presenter/Melvyn Bragg, Producer/Thomas Morris for the BBC Radio 4, UK.

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TAGS

1959 • all matters which most concern us • American education • American schools • artistic intellectuals • arts and humanitiesarts education • British education • C P Snow • Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge • Charles Percy Snow • civilisationClassicalclassicscommerce • cultural agenda • cultural high ground • cultureCulture and Anarchydisciplinary protectionism • editorial control • education system • elites • experimental teachingF R Leavis • free thought • German education • German schools • GreekH G Wellshabitshigh culture • illiteracy of scientists • intellectual life • John Tyndall • knowledgeLatin • literary intellectuals • manufacturingmaterialismMatthew ArnoldMelvyn Braggmodern sciencemodern society • Paul Nurse • quality of education • Rede Lecture • reliable official knowledge • Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts Manufactures and Commerce • RSA • schoolingsciencesciences and humanitiesscientific age • scientific culture • scientific education • scientific naturalism • scientific revolution • scientific teaching • scientists • Second Law of Thermodynamics • shared languagesocial class • speaking the same language • stock notions • study of perfection • technological culture • technology • the best which has been thought and said in the world • the classics • The Value of Culture (radio) • Thomas Huxley • traditional culturetwin pillarstwo cultures • Two Cultures debate • two separate cultures

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
21 APRIL 2012

The Family: warts-and-all portrait of working-class 1970s Britain

"Modelled on the 13–part observational series, An American Family (US, d. Craig Gilbert, 1972), producer Paul Watson's 12–part The Family (BBC, 1974) is credited with creating the concept of the 'fly–on–the–wall' documentary in Britain. Regardless, Watson's cinema verité–style, warts–and–all portrait of the working–class Wilkins family certainly popularised an 'observational' style still seen as the defining characteristic of British documentary some twenty–five years later.

The Family follows the daily lives of Terry and Margaret Wilkins, their children and their partners, as they all struggle to live together in a small flat in Reading. The series sets out to reveal to viewers the reality of family life in Britain as never shown before. "No TV family ever has dirty pots and pans," says Margaret in episode one, and the Wilkins demonstrate a remarkable candour in their on–camera conversations with one another.

Watson and his small crew spent two months with the Wilkins prior to filming. After this the team filmed the family eighteen hours a day for three months. The result was an extraordinary portrait of family life: honest, hilarious and painful, an instant classic the impact and influence of which (on both fiction and non–fiction television) it would be difficult to overestimate.

The Family divided critics and viewers alike, and the Wilkins were villified by the tabloid press for all manner of imagined transgressions: their 'acting' for the camera or their 'real' behaviour in front of it, their use of bad language and public airing of previously taboo subjects. Watson explained that he "wanted to make a film about the kind of people who never got on to television," and clearly the sight of a powerful and opinionated woman like Margaret Wilkins, or the challenge of daughter Heather to the casual racism of 1970s middle–England, was shocking to a certain section of the British public (Mary Whitehouse was among those who called for the series to be banned, lest this 'representative' family be seen as a model to imitate)."

(Joe Sieder, BFI Screenonline)

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TAGS

1970s1974 • acting for the camera • An American FamilyBBCBritainBritish documentary • candour • casual racismcinema veritecultural signalsdirect cinemadocumentaryfamilyfamily lifefly-on-the-wallFranc Roddam • honest • Margaret Wilkins • Mary Whitehouse • non-fiction televisionobservational seriesobservational style • on-camera conversations • Paul Watsonportraitportrait of a familyportrait of family life • Reading (city) • real behaviourreality television • small flat • social changesocial classsocial constructionismsocial realitysocial stratificationsocietysocio-economictaboo subjectstelevisiontelevision documentarytelevision series • Terry Wilkins • The FamilyThe Family (television)TVUK • warts-and-all • working class

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
03 FEBRUARY 2012

Die Antwoord: a provocative celebration of otherness

"If Die Antwoord are a joke, they're a painfully acute one. This over–the–top South African rap–rave trio, comprising rappers Ninja and Yolandi Visser and a hulking DJ called Hi–Tek, purport to represent 'zef', a strain of working–class/underclass Boer' culture that perhaps most closely equates to our own pejorative term 'chav'.

The band's co–founder and frontman, Watkin Tudor Jones, aka Ninja, has previously appeared in a host of similar conceptual art–rap projects and situationist pranks."

(Ian Gittins, 16 November 2010)

Fig.1 Die Antwoord "Zef Side"

Fig.2 Die Antwoord "I Fink U Freeky", Directed by Roger Ballen & NINJA, Director of Photography Melle Van Essen, Edited by Jannie Hondekom @ Left, Post Production by Blade.

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TAGS

Afrikaner • art projectbandBoer • Boer culture • chav • counterculture • Die Antwoord • dirtyDJ • DJ Hi-Tek (Marius Bosch) • grungy • lowbrow • lower socioeconomic status • mulletmusic video • Ninja (Watkin Tudor Jones) • othernessover-the-top • pejorative • poor white people • prankprovocativerap • rap-rave • raveshocksituationist • slur • social classSouth Africa • South African • subculturetrio • underclass • Watkin Tudor Jones • white trash • working class • Yolandi Visser • zef

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
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