ABSTRACT

Ideologies are organized sets of conceptions that are articulated by spokespersons as ideational expressions of the interests of social groupings. As such, they are both consequences of and frames for much intellectual work. When intellectuals can generally treat the values and ideas of powerful groups as disembodied realities, and either ignore the distinctive concerns of subordinate groups or regard them merely as 'deviant' from such dominant values, we are in a condition of pronounced ideological domination. This condition diminishes when the existence of alternative standpoints and world views is apparent and the role of human agency in creating, maintaining and changing such views as well as in disseminating some more widely than others is recognized. NeoMarxist scholars have recently devoted growing attention to conditions of ideological domination both in advanced capitalist societies generally1 and in the public schools in particular.2 There is also now a rich body of ethnographic research documenting ways in which subordinate group cultures create their own sub-cultural codes, symbols and styles.3 Such subcultures are of widely varying distinctiveness and persistence, and they generally contain elements of both accommodation and resistance to dominant cultures. These sub-cultures, which are expressed in many sites including schools, may be regarded as 'hot houses' for the generation of new ideological interpretations of social reality, some of which may find sustained articulation and take root in the larger subordinate parent cultures. There have also been some very important critical efforts to identify major features of and changes in the prevailing contemporary educational ideology, primarily through analysis of state policy documents.4 However, at least in liberal democratic states, such official ideologies are always mediated expressions, never simply the unilaterally imposed views of dominant groups. Post-War Marxist studies of the state have tended to emphasize either its structural compatability with capitalist interests or institutional networks linking state agents with powerful corporate groups and consequently to impute quite a monolithic, capitalist-dominated character to state systems.5 But some more recent critical empirical studies find the state to b e ' . . . in many ways a rather fragile structure of alliances, one that is shot through with

contradictions. The elite contains within it various classes and ethnic categories in an unstable alliance.'6 In any case, the actual process of ideological mediation at the societal level remains very poorly understood, at least with regard to educational policy making.7 In particular, there has been little systematic research as yet on class-based educational ideologies per se. Among the most evident ingredients are the public discourses of organic intellectuals of dominant and subordinate class circles. To begin a critical analysis of such educational ideologies is the main purpose of this chapter.