chapter  4
Between Good Sense and Bad Sense: Race, Class, and Learning from Learning to Labor
Pages 19

In Models and Mystery (Ramsey, 1964), Ian Ramsey made a distinction between two kinds of models. The first, “pictorial models,” seek to show the world “as it really is.” Such models, although useful, are usually relatively undynamic and risk becoming reified representations of reified people and processes. The second, “disclosure models,” enable us to see the people and processes in wholly new and considerably more dynamic ways. In the (often overused) Kuhnian sense of the word, they provide for and signify paradigm shifts (Kuhn, 1970). Only a very few works in the fields of sociology, cultural studies, and education can be said to have provided powerful disclosure models. But if I were asked to nominate truly lasting contributions, ones that continue to deserve to be read today, within that select few would be Learning to Labor (Willis, 1977, published in the United Kingdom as Learning to Labour). Indeed, along with, say, the scholarship of Bourdieu and Bernstein, Paul Willis’s work stands as an achievement that has not only stood the test of time but remains among the most compelling analyses of how class can be understood. Indeed, I would want to claim that its basic approach provides some of the essential building blocks for a critical analysis of many of the dynamics of differential power and experience with which all of us are concerned.