Identity and Ideology: Sociocultural Theories of Schooling

By Stanley William Rothstein | Go to book overview

subjected to mimetic structures that control them. They do not, and cannot, change their destinies or the history of the educational systems in which they work and learn. Individuals are part of a world they did not make and cannot understand, except through misrecognition and ideology. They are destined to fill their positions in the given educational and social-relations structures of modern society.

The inculcation processes of the pedagogic action begin, however, in the family. There neonates develop many-sided and conflictual natures of themselves, which will be discussed further in chapter 4. Here we want to point out that infants make the passage from animals to human beings, from sensations and needs to language and a recognition of society and their places in it. Children come to see themselves as the center of experience, the people who initiate much of the action that occurs around them. This process places children in an ideological mode. They come to see and understand themselves by recognizing the linguistic categories others use to describe and identify them. They come to misrecognize these words as their selves or, as Bourdieu might say, they misrecognize or confuse these words with their own inner cores. The parents with whom children identify are idealized versions of persons, who seem to have no other function or desire than to minister to the needs of their children. This misrecognition is the essence of ideology and governs the consciousness, actions, and experiences of children and others around them. Yet these earliest pedagogic acts contain more than symbolic violence, if you will. They also contain a bonding of individuals with nurturing others and an acceptance of social solidarity-producing outcomes that are the cement of modern societies.


SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

Bourdieu and his associates developed a theory of symbolic violence that sought to examine the reproductive functions of schooling in modern society. They studied the arbitrary characteristics and practices of educational systems and their effects on children from different social origins and sexes. Individual consciousness and understanding of ongoing classroom experiences were ignored because they were misrecognitions of the power hidden behind the symbolic violence of the pedagogic act. Yet these perspectives made it impossible for researchers to operationalize their hypotheses and concepts. Findings could not be developed to validate their theoretical formulations, because such findings could not be observed or replicated in ongoing classroom activities. The teachings of educational systems were seen as arbitrary in their content and forms. Because these teachings were imposed on children by the state and the dominant classes the state represented, their habitus was arbitrary and could not be derived from principles of logic in social science research.

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Identity and Ideology: Sociocultural Theories of Schooling
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • 1 - Sociocultural Theories of Schooling: An Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Role of the State 19
  • 3 - Reproduction: Symbolic Violence in Educational Systems 45
  • SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 63
  • 4 - Ideological State Apparatuses 67
  • 5 - The Social Relations of Production 87
  • 6 - The Social Relations of Educational Production 109
  • 7 - Separating Theory from Practice: A Scholastic Question 129
  • Notes 151
  • Selected Bibliography 157
  • Index 159
  • About the Author 163
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