Language, Structure, and Reproduction: An Introduction to the Sociology of Basil Bernstein

By Paul Atkinson | Go to book overview

8

Production, reproduction and the fate of the text

The discussion of classification and frame returns one to the themes and structures of the earlier ‘anthropological’ papers outlined in chapter 2. The style of thought has shifted somewhat. The earlier papers were fairly straightforwardly Durkheimian in character, with more than a smattering of the conceptual apparatus of Mertonian sociology. The later papers reflect the maturation of Bernstein’s perspectives, and the Durkheim who exerts his influence is now more obviously the originator of the French tradition. The sociology of collective representations has been resolved into the complexity of a structuralist semiotics and its codes.

It will be remembered that the early papers were by no means confined to an examination of the moral order of schools. In various ways Bernstein explored the structural relations expressed in the triad of school/family/work. This triplet has indeed lain at the heart of all the themes and variations so far encountered. At times one or two of the terms have received more attention, but in reading Bernstein one must always bear in mind that what is significant is the set of systemic relations between those domains.

The significance of that triad is ultimately reducible to a yet more elementary structural theme. That is, the systemic relations between fields of production and fields of reproduction.

This is true of the later cluster of papers on school knowledge.

-156-

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