chapter  2
20 Pages

A Bernsteinian analysis of knowledge and the implications for curriculum

This chapter outlines Bernstein’s analysis of the nature of knowledge and the relationship between knowledge and power. It explains the way in which abstract knowledge is the site for society’s conversation about the unthinkable and the notyet-thought and why access to such knowledge is an issue of distributional justice. It establishes the importance of theoretical knowledge in curriculum and the argument that students must have access to knowledge if they are to participate in this conversation.However, Bernstein’s contribution extends beyond establishing the centrality of knowledge in curriculum; his analysis demonstrates that the way knowledge is structured has implications for the processes used to produce knowledge and then to reproduce it in curriculum. His analysis of the ‘pedagogic device’ reveals how the structure of pedagogic discourse and the rules shaping the way it is distributed, recontextualized and evaluated is a mechanism for relaying power relations in society in ways that include and exclude.