You are on page 1of 29

This article was downloaded by: [Newsam Library and Archive Services, Institute of

Education, University of London]


On: 08 July 2014, At: 17:54
Publisher: Routledge
Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered
office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
The Curriculum Journal
Publication details, including instructions for authors and
subscription information:
http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rcjo20
Making geography visible as an object
of study in the secondary school
curriculum
Roger Firth
a
a
Department of Education , University of Oxford , Oxford, UK
Published online: 22 Sep 2011.
To cite this article: Roger Firth (2011) Making geography visible as an object of study
in the secondary school curriculum, The Curriculum Journal, 22:3, 289-316, DOI:
10.1080/09585176.2011.601209
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585176.2011.601209
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE
Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the
Content) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis,
our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to
the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions
and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,
and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content
should not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sources
of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,
proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or
howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising
out of the use of the Content.
This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any
substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,
systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &
Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-
and-conditions
Making geography visible as an object of study in the secondary
school curriculum
Roger Firth*
Department of Education, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
This article considers disciplinary-based knowledge and its recontex-
tualisation and acquisition in the secondary school curriculum. It
starts from the premise that teaching disciplinary knowledge is
important. The focus is the subject of geography and the increasingly
inuential realist school of thought in the sociology of education and
the endeavour to bring knowledge back into education. Social realist
theorists emphasise the importance of the explanatory power of
specialist or disciplinary knowledge. Basil Bernsteins ideas of
hierarchical and horizontal knowledge structures are being developed
in order to bring into view the epistemological principles that
underpin the recontextualisation of such knowledge within the school
curriculum that can support meaningful learning. The generative
capacity of Bernsteins typology is illustrated by the work of Maton
who places knower structures and legitimation codes alongside
Bernsteins knowledge structures. The article outlines this structure
of knowledge approach before discussing the nature of geographical
knowledge. Consideration is then given to how these ideas about the
structuring of knowledge might inuence thinking about the
geography curriculum and pedagogy. In recognising the signicance
of the social realist approach to knowledge and the link between
discipline and curriculum, the article ends with some thoughts about
the limitations of social realism as an overarching theory of
knowledge for educational purposes. These revolve around the nature
of epistemic communities and specically: the extent to which social
realism recognises the socio-epistemic relation between educational
and disciplinary contexts; the under-theorisation of the eld of
knowledge production itself; and the fact that social realist theorists
tend to ignore a key aspect of the epistemic relation of knowledge
what knowledge is about. Engagement with such issues is necessary to
support a model of education centred on the student, the teacher and
knowledge and concerned with knowledge orientation as well as
knowledge acquisition.
Keywords: curriculum; educational knowledge; geography education;
social realism
*Email: roger.rth@education.ox.ac.uk
The Curriculum Journal
Vol. 22, No. 3, September 2011, 289316
ISSN 0958-5176 print/ISSN 1469-3704 online
2011 British Curriculum Foundation
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585176.2011.601209
http://www.tandfonline.com
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

Introduction
In this article I discuss the nature of subject knowledge and its
recontextualisation and its acquisition
1
in the school curriculum. I start
from the understanding that: properly conceived, however they are
congured and inter-related, however they dierentiate and coalesce over
time, subjects constitute the available ways we have of exploring and
interpreting the world of subjective experience, of analysing the social
environment and of making sense of the natural world (Kirk and
Broadhead 2007, para. 39). It is through subject study that young people:
develop the capacity to engage in the distinctive modes of investigation
and analysis through which human experience is dierentiated and
extensions of human understanding are achieved (ibid.). It is through
subject study that learners acquire historical, scientic, mathematical
geographical and other forms of understanding. I also begin by
emphasising recent curriculum policy and revisions to the secondary
school curriculum in England, which have thrown doubt on the
importance of disciplinary subjects.
Government policy has continued to support the study of subjects,
where geography is seen as important in helping young people to make
sense of a complex and dynamically changing world through the
development of disciplinary understanding and to become global
citizens. At the same time, however, there has been a range of
countervailing policy initiatives that challenge the role and status of
subjects (Davies and Hughes 2009). The existing National Curriculum
(QCA 2008) presents schools with conicting policy requirements.
Alongside subjects, the National Curriculum strongly asserts an emphasis
on the development of competencies and skills for life and work in the
knowledge age. The focus on the skills and qualities required to be
independent enquirers, creative thinkers, reective learners, team
workers, self managers and eective participants prioritises the
development of a range of generic competences rather than the mastery
of particular kinds of knowledge (Harris and Burn 2011, 246).
As Harris and Burn go on to argue, while competency-based
curriculum models have:
not proceeded from the assumption that knowledge is unimportant, their
basic premise is that, since the knowledge needed in the future cannot be
predicted, what young people really need are the skills that will allow them
to access and indeed create new knowledge as it is needed. However, they
tend to operate on the premise that the knowledge that will be required at
any future point will be easy to acquire or produce and to evaluate using
generic research and problem-solving skills. (257)
In terms of 1419 provision the introduction of pathways through the
curriculum often means that pupils are directed into given academic/
290 R. Firth
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

vocational subject trajectories. There seem to be two common assump-
tions about the knowledge basis of the curriculum in England and many
other countries. They are that knowledge contents are less important in
the new global economy and that reducing inequalities requires a reduced
role for school subjects as a source of powerful knowledge (Yates and
Young 2010, 8).
The 2010 Schools White Paper, The Importance of Teaching, which
outlines the British governments policy for education in England, has
initiated a review of the National Curriculum. It appears to signal a
renewed emphasis on traditional subjects and the acquisition of essential
knowledge. It states the need for a broad and balanced education that will
act as a benchmark for all schools and:
have a greater focus on subject content, outlining the essential knowledge
and understanding that pupils should be expected to have to enable them to
take their place as educated members of society. (DfE 2010, 42)
The White Paper implies that geography will have a presence within the
school curriculum as one of the subject disciplines that will enable the
curriculum to be rigorous and stretching and support high participation
(DfE 2010, 8), though its future is not conrmed. The White Paper,
however, does not make clear what is meant by essential knowledge and
traditional subjects.
That all this should be happening is the result, as Michael
Young (2008a) has argued, of a lack of attention to questions of
knowledge. This neglect extends beyond questions about what knowl-
edge to teach, to epistemological questions about the very nature of
knowledge itself.
Here, it is important to emphasise the social nature of knowledge and
the distinction between what Young (2008a, 28) describes as external
social interests (relations to knowledge) and internal social interests or
cognitive interests (relations within knowledge). Geography education
has given attention to external interests and the power relations
underpinning knowledge impacting divisions and inequalities within
society. Discussion of cognitive interests has tended to be somewhat
tangential, that is, focused on classroom encounters or student learning
rather than the production and acquisition of knowledge itself.
Acknowledgement of these epistemic standards of disciplinary knowl-
edge is central to the endeavour of realist educational sociologists to
bring knowledge back into education and to the development of social
realism as a theory of knowledge. Social realist theorists are highly critical
of the educational dilemma posed by the alternatives of traditionalism
and instrumentalism in curriculum policy and their progressive
postmodern critics (Moore and Young 2010, 33). Each, in its own way,
The Curriculum Journal 291
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

it is argued, precludes a debate about knowledge as a category in its own
right (15; original emphasis).
While avoiding a defence of any particular expression of a subject-
based or disciplinary curriculum, what is important about this debate is
that it implies that if young people are to gain access to specialist or
disciplinary knowledge to geographical knowledge they need to
develop a level of understanding of the kinds of standards applied to its
production and development. As Yates and Young argue, the basis of
knowledge acquisition the curriculum and pedagogy cannot be
divorced from the basis of knowledge production research (2010, 10).
Social realism
Over the last decade a distinctive social realist
2
perspective on knowledge
has emerged within the sociology of education; one that is concerned
with the development of an account of knowledge that is responsive to the
normative uses of the term knowledge and to the social conditions in
which scientic knowledge is produced (Longino 2002, 1). Social realism
has developed a formidable critique of the alleged relativism associated
with social constructivism in its various guises, in particular postmodern-
ism, and seeks to dispel its inuences in education (Balarin 2008, 507).
Social realism is being developed as a meta-language for knowledge and
educational practice, with a view to its practical application. It is
connecting the sociology of knowledge with macro-concepts from the
sociology of education, in particular those of Basil Bernstein.
The core argument of social realism is that the acquisition of
knowledge is the key purpose that distinguishes education from all other
activities (Moore 2004; Young 2008a) and that knowledge acquired in
schools is fundamentally more powerful
3
than that gained from everyday
life because of its explanatory power. Failure to attend to questions about
the nature of knowledge thus leaves young people trapped at the level of
their own experience, condemned simply to recycle it (Young 2008a).
Recent curriculum policy has undermined disciplinary knowledge and
disciplined thinking to the detriment of many young people, particularly
those from disadvantaged backgrounds where alternative curricula have
denied them access to disciplinary knowledge. This is not to suggest,
however, that teachers should not use everyday knowledge for pedagogic
purposes. Young (2009, 202) emphasises that while such knowledge can
never be a basis for the curriculum, pedagogy necessarily takes seriously
the non-school knowledge that students bring to school.
Social realism understands knowledge as emergent from the specia-
lised collective practices of knowledge generation within epistemic
communities. It relies on a regulatory rather than an absolute notion of
truth and an inescapable ontological realism, and recognises the fallibility
of even the most reliable knowledge. It should be seen as a version of
292 R. Firth
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

structural objectivity (Daston and Galison 2007) where the structures of
expert/scientic practice owe something to the schemes of intelligibility
that people use to identify them as such. Knowledge develops on the basis
of its conceptual or explanatory power, which allows experts/scientists to
make choices between competing theories. Such specialist knowledge
develops into non-arbitrary forms that have their own necessary
constraints which curriculum designers and teachers have to take into
account (Yates and Young 2010, 8). In this sense, social constructivism is
brought into a realist framework within the eld of knowledge
production: social constructivism focused on authoritative epistemic
justication.
The purpose of this article is to engage with the social realist debate
about the possibilities for and constraints on recontextualising disciplin-
ary knowledge for educational purposes. I approach this from the context
of practice as a geography teacher educator,
4
not an educational
sociologist, and the understanding that an aim of education should be
to develop students dispositions towards knowledge: where knowledge
becomes meaningful through engagement with the disciplinary practices
that govern the creation, validation, representation, interpretation and
critique of knowledge within specic domains. This emphasis on the
performance of disciplinary ways of thinking and practising gives
importance to the development of what I term an orientation to
knowledge as well as knowledge acquisition; and to query whether such
an aim could be supported by social realism as it stands.
The rst part of the article begins by detailing aspects of social realist
theory; specically, Bernsteins (1996, 2000, 2001) conceptualisation of
knowledge structures and the development of this conceptual framework
by Karl Maton (2000, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010a, 2010b, 2010c).
Maton emphasises that for every knowledge structure there is also a
knower structure. His ideas illustrate well the work of social realist
theorists in their concern with understanding bodies of knowledge and
how over time they are structured and built, and can be theorised for use
in educational settings (Freebody et al. 2008). The nature of geographical
knowledge is then considered. In doing so a question is raised about the
utility of an overarching social realist epistemological model of the
disciplines. This is followed by a discussion of how knowledge-knower
structures could aid the thinking of geography educators in planning and
teaching the geography curriculum. The second part argues that while
there is a good deal to commend in social realism in terms of the emphasis
on the epistemological nature of disciplines and the relationship between
disciplines and school curriculum, there are limitations. These revolve
around the nature of epistemic communities and specically:
(1) The neglect of the socio-epistemic relation between educational
and disciplinary contexts: the socio-epistemic perspective is limited
The Curriculum Journal 293
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

by social realists to the eld of knowledge production and similar
scrutiny is not given to the elds of recontextualisation or
reproduction; in consequence the dierent communities and
contexts and forms of knowledge within them are not considered.
Here, emphasis is given to teachers and students owned
knowledge. Consideration of other communities and contexts
disrupts the unidirectional mode of thinking that is social realism.
(2) The under-theorisation of the eld of knowledge production itself:
that is, social practices are not fully emphasised.
(3) Social realism tends to ignore a key aspect of the epistemic relation of
knowledge what knowledge is about or the what of knowledge.
Engagement with such issues is necessary to support a model of education
centred on the student, the teacher and knowledge and concerned with
knowledge orientation as well as knowledge acquisition.
The epistemological structure of school subjects: making knowledge visible
As is by now well known, Bernsteins later work dierentiated between
two forms of discourse, horizontal and vertical, and within vertical
discourse between two kinds of knowledge structure, hierarchical and
horizontal. It was a way of conceptualising the underlying principles that
generate forms of knowledge and how they develop over time. For social
realism the concept of knowledge dierentiation is a principled way of
distinguishing between dierent forms of specialist knowledge and
between school and everyday knowledge.
Bernstein described everyday knowledge or commonsense as horizon-
tal discourse, where there is a direct relation between meanings and a
specic material base (Hoadley and Muller 2010, 75). In everyday
knowledge there are no systematic ordering principles and meanings
cannot transcend their immediate context.
Hierarchical and horizontal knowledge structures dier in two ways:
verticality and grammaticality. Verticality has to do with how a theory
develops internally; the capacity of theory to progressively integrate and
subsume knowledge at increasing levels of generality andabstraction (Moore
et al. 2006, 2), ever more explanatory sophistication. Grammaticality is: the
capacity of a theory, through its concepts, to engage with the world to
produce an external language of description that species the manner in
which we would recognise in the world the kinds of things the theory posits as
existing there (ibid.). The stronger the grammar of a language, the better able
it will be to progress through worldly (empirical) corroboration:
Where this interplay between verticality and grammaticality (between
internal and external languages of description) is most eective, then
knowledge structures assume what Bernstein described as a hierarchical
294 R. Firth
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

form (natural sciences); but where it is least successful the eld assumes a
horizontal or segmented structure (social sciences) with numerous
competing and supposedly incommensurable approaches. (Moore et al.
2006, 2)
Bernsteins framework suggests that the natural sciences, which have
the capacity to both integrate theories and empirically conrm them,
appear, in this sense, stronger than the social sciences and build
cumulatively. The social sciences have limited capacity for cumulative
knowledge-building and tend to build segmentally.
Bernsteins typology of knowledges sits within broader historical and
philosophical debates concerning the possibility of progress in knowl-
edge.
5
It can be criticised for oering dichotomous ideal types whose
dierences are too strongly drawn (Young 2008a, 210) based on his
preference for a realist ontology and an empiricist epistemology as the
ideal (Luckett 2010). His typology also raises a crucial educational issue:
does the character of the way in which knowledge is produced have
implications for the manner in which it is recontextualised and
reproduced for curriculum and pedagogy (Moore et al. 2006, 2)?
Recently social realist theorists have developed Bernsteins theory of
knowledge structures to show that knowledge develops from specialised
social activities over time in dierent ways. Maton distinguishes between
knowledge structures and knower structures and where knowledge and
knowers are specialised in terms of what is known or who is knowing it.
This distinction is conceptually elaborated in terms of how knowers are
positioned within disciplinary elds in terms of two dimensions: an
epistemic relation to the knowledge structure and a social relation to
the knower structure; these two relations can vary independently and each
may be independently arranged hierarchically or horizontally (Maton
2010b, 161). These distinctions enable Maton to generate a set of
legitimation codes in terms of the varying ways in which knowledge is
legitimated (3). This approach enables elds of knowledge production to
be seen along two dimensions. While these structures are empirically
inseparable as a social eld of practice, they are analytically
distinguishable.
Bernstein states that hierarchical knowledge structures develop
through the subsumption and integration of knowledge: verticality.
Based on Maton, we can now add that elds with horizontal knowledge
structures may develop through the subsumption and integration of
habituses: sociality. In other words, where one kind of eld develops
through knowledge-building, another kind develops through knower-
building (Maton 2010b, 164). Knower structures can be distinguished by
the degree to which they integrate and subsume new knowers, high-
lighting whether they develop through integration or accumulation of
habituses.
The Curriculum Journal 295
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

And analogous to Bernsteins grammar of knowledge structures,
knower structures can be analysed in terms of the strength of the knower
grammar. Whereas knowledge grammar refers to the strengths of
classication and framing of objects of study and their specialised
procedures (the epistemic relation), knower grammar refers to the
strengths of classication and framing of privileged knowers and their
aptitudes, attitudes and dispositions (the social relation). In terms of the
strengths of knower grammar underlying particular elds, Maton
conceptualises a continuum of gazes (2010b, 165): born, social, cultivated
and trained (from strongest to weakest). A gaze, based on Bernstein
(1999), has to be acquired: it is a particular mode of recognising and
realising what counts as an authentic reality (165). The continuum is
traced in terms of xity of knower categories towards increasing openness
and from knowers (weakening of the social relation) towards knowledge
(strengthening of the epistemic relation). Strengths of knower grammars
help shape the conditions for entry, position and trajectory within a elds
hierarchy. The kind of gaze underlying the knower structure (social
relation) of elds has implications for its ability to extend its epistemic
community across time and space (Maton 2010b, 176). In this way, Maton
emphasises that the cosmology of the social sciences tends to be less
epistemological and more axiological. A cosmology works by means of
the, creation of constellations of positions through a process of
association whereby ideas, practices and beliefs are grouped together and
contrasted to other groups (Martin et al. 2010, 17).
Knower structures are the key to understanding dierences among
elds with horizontal knowledge structures they are not all the same,
nor are they conned to a strictly horizontal form of development
(Maton 2010b, 177). Thus, while Bernsteins typology allows us to see
knowledges and provides insights into elds such as the sciences, to fully
understand other elds, and in particular the social sciences, we also need
to see knowers (ibid.). It should be emphasised that Maton is not arguing
that the social sciences must necessarily develop in this way or cannot
build knowledge (ibid., 165). Rather, he suggests, this is a way of seeing
how actually existing progress may be occurring within such elds (ibid.).
The particular forms of elds of knowledge production can be
analysed in terms of legitimation codes, which bring these knowledge-
knower grammars together. Legitimation code theory provides a method
and a language of description for analysing underlying principles which
constitute disciplinary elds and educational knowledge. Matons work is
helpful in showing that all forms of knowledge have both an epistemic
and a social relation. It also helps to move away from Bernsteins decit
view of the social sciences. For geography educators this structuring
approach to knowledge opens up two key questions, which are considered
in the discussion below:
296 R. Firth
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

(1) What is the knowledge-knower structure of geography?
(2) What are the relations between geographys knowledge-knower
structures and curriculum and pedagogic structure? What kinds of
limits does the disciplinary structure place on how the school
geography curriculum and its pedagogy are constituted?
Geographical knowledge
In this brief overview of theoretical developments in geography I start
from the view that: in a series of ways, geographers have long thought of
themselves as members of a hybrid discipline. Geography, it has become
commonplace to say, spans both the natural and social sciences
(Demeritt 2005, 819). It illustrates how the discipline has engaged with
the epistemological consequences of shifts in philosophy and sociology of
science and how geographical knowledge is dierentiated. (A more
specic emphasis on the what of geography what geography is about
is given consideration below.)
As a result of the growing recognition of the social character of
scientic inquiry and the increasing acknowledgement of explanatory
plurality (Longino 2002, 1), geography, like other disciplines, has seen a
productive rethinking of the epistemological basis of research and
knowledge. This engagement coincided with a period of signicant
social and political unrest and many university geographers began to
question the relevance and usefulness of the discipline and strove to
make the subject more socially relevant and of inuence to those making
policy, as well as the general public (Staeheli and Mitchell 2005; K. Ward
2005).
Initially, those geographers who took up social constructivism in its
various guises tended to focus on the metaphysics of science and
theoretical discussions of representation, and cast their epistemological
criticisms of scientic objectivity in such sweeping and yet such opaque
terms that they were easily dismissed by scientists as anti-science and anti-
knowledge (Demerritt 1996, 485). Since then there has been a shift of
focus from issues of metaphysics and representation per se to the practice
of scientists, by which knowledge is actually produced. Attention to the
production of knowledge in more specic and empirically substantiated
terms (Rouse 1992), to the details of scientic practice, has made the
social basis of knowledge much more dicult to dismiss.
Physical geographers who have, at times, seemed much more reluctant
to take on the arcane debates of their colleagues in human geography
(Inkpen 2005) have also set in motion a reassessment of their
methodological imperatives or instinctive empiricism and are engaging
in a critical dialogue with each other and with human geographers about
the epistemological foundations of scientic objectivity (Rhoads 1999;
The Curriculum Journal 297
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

Gregory 2000; Cliord 2002; Gregory et al. 2002; Trudgill and Roy 2003;
Brown 2004; Phillips 2004; Inkpen 2005). As Cliord highlights:
One of the major advances in the last decade is that physical geographers
have become aware of, and engaged with, wider explorations of the
contingency of explanation, the nature of experimentation and the role of
social practice and culture in disciplinary advance. Take, for example, the
ongoing discussions of the various forms of realism. (2002, 433)
As a result of geographers sustained engagement with these philosophical
issues, a broad range of more or less distinct competing traditions on
how best to think geographically and how most eectively to research
geographical questions (Hubbard et al. 2005, 6) are now current in the
discipline. They emphasise the social character of knowledge. Some
geographers, however, retain a commitment to positivisms philosophical
assumptions (Demeritt 2002; Kitchin 2006).
In recognising the specialist domains and traditions of the discipline
Golledge is hopeful that interaction between these domains might
generate a new interest in an integrated science (2002, 1). He goes on to
say:
A signicant part of the quest for geographical knowledge has been
detoured by attempts to understand the latest ism rather than advancing
geographic knowledge i.e. geographers have focused on perspective rather
than substance and in doing so have wasted much eort in internecine
conict and criticism. (2002, 2)
Lack of interaction and engagement have been characteristics of the
discipline, as Sheppard and Plummer (2007) argue. In emphasising the
plurality within the discipline and its ready acceptance by many
geographers, notwithstanding occasional calls to monism, their concern
is not its elimination or integration, but rather moving geography from a
plurality of approaches to engaged pluralism. The diversity of the
discipline is its strength, they emphasise, but to advance knowledge, this
diversity must be the foundation for intellectual interaction. As Longino
(2002) argues, knowledge about the world is more reliable when all the
various approaches are placed in rigorous engagement with one another.
A satisfactory epistemology for science should not foreclose the choice of
pluralism versus monism (175). And as Bassett (1999) emphasises,
engaged pluralism requires communal reexivity to uncover background
assumptions and biases through a transformative criticism of the
contextual values within which science always takes place. This continual
exposure of unthought biases and assumptions is a way of producing a
strong objectivity which strengthens science/knowledge production as a
progressive project. Such reexivity requires commitment to certain
principles of organisation and debate.
298 R. Firth
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

Becoming an academic geographer, Johnston (1997) argues, involves
being socialised/acculturated into one of the disciplinary traditions or
segments that co-exist within the discipline. He identies a coarse four-
dimensional matrix to identify how this dierentiation manifests itself
within the discipline:
(1) Substantive dierentiation, involving sub-disciplinary divisions
according to what is studied;
(2) Epistemological dierentiation, involving divisions according to
diering beliefs in the nature of knowledge what can be known,
and how;
(3) Dierentiation in rationale, involving divisions among geographers
in the raison detre for their discipline or segment thereof;
(4) Community dierentiation, involving divisions which are them-
selves geographical: the macro-scale (largely language based); the
meso-scale (separate countries); and the micro-scale divisions
(based on one or more academic institutions). (Johnston 1997,
301)
While some geographers may work in two or more segments and others
shift among them, many will remain within one segment for very long
periods (ibid., 31). Many geographers may well categorise themselves on
each of the rst three of these dimensions, for example, as human or
physical geographers, and then dene their interests more precisely, such
as climatologists, or geomorphologists, or cultural geographers, etc.
Many, too, and certainly many human geographers, adopt a particular
epistemological position. The rst three categories can be presented as
universals, as divisions which largely transcend national boundaries,
although dierent divisions will vary in their importance between places.
The fourth involves particulars, however, dening cleavages within the
geographical enterprise whose main axis of dierentiation is itself
geographical.
What is evident here is that geography and geographers are
dierentiated from the inside out and the dierence between physical
geography and human geography is a distinctive characteristic. Geo-
graphy is a multi-paradigmatic discipline and geographers work with
dierent concepts of scientic knowledge and its development. Having
said this, I am aware that not all geographers would agree with this
representation of the discipline.
My account might seem to suggest that geography has evolved as a
blend of hierarchical and horizontal knowledge-knower structures where
with increased specialisation there may be a tendency towards horizon-
tality but delineating exactly what the knowledge-knower structures are
in relation to geography may not be straightforward. There is an
The Curriculum Journal 299
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

important dierence between discussion in the abstract compared with an
exploration of the actual discipline. Is the nature of this structure the
same for all geographers? And, signicantly for education, how are
teachers, teacher educators and students aware of it? There are two points
here.
First, in structural accounts that describe the development and
presence of sub-disciplinary specialities and knower gazes and possibly
the changing constellation of concepts the contested aspects of this
historiography of a eld seem to remain, if not hidden, under-theorised. A
specic focus, also, on social practices that would reveal the dierent
ontological, epistemological, methodological, axiological and representa-
tional assumptions within the discipline would bring this dimension of
knowledge production into clear view. This, I argue, does not undermine
the objectivity of forms of knowledge, of geographical knowledge, or the
normative enterprise around knowledge. Rather, it requires its expansion
to include within its scope consideration of the social practices within
epistemic communities by which knowledge becomes increasingly
disciplined, impersonal and critical. This is to emphasise the importance
of any theory of knowledge for use in educational settings; also, being a
foundation for the development of students dispositions towards
knowledge. It is only when students engage with the social practices
within disciplines that they can appreciate its objectivity and develop an
orientation to knowledge. Without this, knowledge acquisition is
meaningless.
Second, engagement in a discipline is also a various and specic
experience: geographers, historians, biologists may have non-comparable
academic experience and structure, non-comparable motives and access
points (Parker 2002). Are disciplines more various than the social realist
emphasis on structures presumes? This does raise a question about the
intricate connection between the form and content of knowledge and thus
the usefulness of an overarching social realist epistemological model
of the disciplines, especially when emphasis is placed on students
engagement with the disciplinary practices of knowledge production and
the development of an orientation to knowledge. The educational value of
disciplines may lie in their dierences beyond the concern only with
structural characteristics.
The recontextualisation and acquisition of geographical knowledge in
schools
The idea that all educational knowledge comprises two co-existing but
analytically distinct sets of relations epistemic relations and social
relations is, however, a critical one. It makes more explicit the nature of
the discipline and the dierent type of knowledge claims found within it.
300 R. Firth
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

The epistemological principles that underpin the recontextualisation of
disciplinary knowledge within the curriculum and how these principles
might inuence opportunities for the development of students disposi-
tions towards knowledge begin to come into view. It raises questions
about the coherence of the curriculum in terms of knowledge-knower
structures. Here the concepts of verticality and grammaticality assume
signicance.
Verticality directs attention to a disciplines explanatory sophistica-
tion. Social realist theorists propose that verticality within the curriculum
is useful since it aligns structure to student learning and allows teachers to
consider how students learn in either a cumulative or segmented fashion.
Even though curriculum congurations may be arbitrary, in that the
government/curriculum authority may impose one form of coherence or
another, Muller (2009) argues that a particular curricular form may be
more compatible with specic disciplinary structures. He emphasises that
although a once-and-for-all path through a curriculum cannot be
stipulated, the explicit mapping of the necessary minimum set of steps
that must be pedagogically traversed would be important for all learners
(Muller 2007, 82), thus providing an expanding sense of a coherent
knowledge base as students move through their schooling (Christie and
Macken-Horarik 2007, 157). In this way, Muller emphasises the
importance of hierarchy and progression in the curriculum. Clearly, the
more vertical the knowledge is, the more important its conceptual
coherence and the more the sequence matters. He also notes the
importance of such an explicit mapping of the path through a curriculum
for socially equitable outcomes.
Muller suggests two possible modes of curriculum coherence based
on their internal coherence: conceptual and contextual coherence.
Conceptually coherent curricula are organised into abstract, internally
logical, hierarchical structures which contain clear knowledge
signposts. Contextually coherent curricula, conversely, are segmentally
connected, where each segment is adequate to a context, sucient to a
purpose (Muller 2009, 216). Here, Matons notion of knower structures
and the characteristics of knowers would oer internal contextual
coherence.
Such arguments aim to develop the idea that students need to access
knowledge in a way which is context-independent and enables student
access to the underlying principles of knowledge rather than anchoring
meaning within its context of acquisition. It is important that the vertical
nature of the knowledge-knower structures within the curriculum is made
visible and equally accessible to all students. Having said all of this, I
would emphasise that the consideration of a curriculum structure for
school geography should be seen as an emergent whole rather than as a
path of discrete knowledge components.
The Curriculum Journal 301
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

Grammaticality is how a theory deals with the world, with how
knowledge claims are made and validated. The stronger the grammar of a
language, the better able it will be to progress through worldly (empirical)
corroboration. Hierarchical knowledge structures exhibit strong gram-
mars while horizontal knowledge structures vary, with some having
relatively stronger grammars and others relatively weaker grammars.
What are the features of the grammars of a multi-paradigmatic
discipline? How exactly do the knowledge claims made within the
discipline dier?
Grammaticality points to the need to unpack how the material and
social worlds are represented and the objects of study; the rulings for
apprehending and analysing data; and the process of coming to know and
what counts as evidence and how this is constructed. How knowledge
claims are judged to be better than others and the rules or criteria for
doing this will need to be considered, as will the impacts of such
knowledge on the world. Here, Matons work is helpful; knower
structures, codes and gazes attribute importance to the legitimation of
knowledge. They are a starting point. They oer some explanatory power
in establishing the grammar of particular academic discourses within
geography, but they do not elaborate the social practices by which
knowledge is warranted.
Grammaticality is a potentially fertile concept. If more fully extended
to encompass the social practices that warrant knowledge, it will bring
into view the fundamentally dierent approaches/traditions found in the
discipline of geography and the way that knowledge claims are made
and legitimated. It also registers the ways in which the discipline puts
language and literacy resources to work in distinctive ways (Freebody
et al. 2008), which is to emphasise the importance of disciplinary-based
language and literacy (which has not been considered here) within the
curriculum and pedagogy. Its consideration will ensure that students are
not denied access to the underlying principles of knowledge or the
nature of the language of the discipline. An understanding of how
knowledge claims come to be made in particular traditions/approaches
within geography would be a vital resource for informing curriculum
and pedagogic strategies. How the potential of these properties and
powers is realised in a specic curriculum and pedagogy is, however, a
matter of contingency, context and agency of the teacher and the
student (Luckett 2010, 20).
In the concern with curriculum and learning this discussion suggests
that it is crucial not to lose sight of the importance of the social and
epistemic conditions required for producing and acquiring disciplinary
knowledge. School students need access to knowledge and its generative
mechanisms. It is through these generative mechanisms that the generic
metaphors of deep understanding, higher order thinking and personal
302 R. Firth
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

constructions of knowledge can be translated into specic, actionable
ways of working with disciplinary knowledge.
At a practical level, consideration of the discipline in terms of
verticality and grammaticality could enable the development of some
form of overarching epistemic framework for the working out of a more
coherent curriculum, which could help students to navigate their way
through it, as well as the establishment of subject-specic pedagogies.
This is probably a long way from the manner in which geography is
recontextualised in English secondary schools, where it seems that there is
a fairly standard asocial and monistic approach.
These are important ideas. The challenge will be to articulate and take
forward knowledge-knower structures that reect the complexity and
diversity of the discipline of geography and which can engage with the
kinds of contexts and enquiries that geography/geographers confront. As
stated above, this does raise a question about the usefulness of an
overarching epistemological model of the disciplines. It should also be
emphasised that transferring ideas about knowledge-knower structures
from the eld of knowledge production into the eld of recontextualisa-
tion and acquisition will inevitably tend to atten out aspects of the
dierent social and epistemic relations to knowledge in the dierent elds
(see the discussion about teachers and students owned knowledge
below). The point being made is that social realism helps start the process
of engagement with the question of knowledge it is not the nal say in
the concern with disciplinarity and disciplined thinking.
Much of what has been said here is to emphasise the curriculum rather
than also being concerned with pedagogy. The importance of the
distinction between curriculum and pedagogy for social realism was
emphasised above. Young (2008a) does argue, however: the sociology of
education must also develop a theory of pedagogy that directs our
attention to the activities of teachers and students that provide the
necessary conditions for students to acquire powerful theoretical
concepts and in the broadest sense, to be educated (80). As yet,
however, subject-specic pedagogy has not been a focus for social realism
(Firth 2011).
The nature of the dierent epistemic communities
My discussion so far has been exploratory and has been concerned with
(beginning) to elaborate a set of ideas to answer a question that originated
from my professional context. The rest of the article seeks to engage more
directly with the theoretical commitments of social realism and to discuss
some of its possible limitations.
The social realist account of knowledge structures refers specically
to the eld of knowledge production to the specialist epistemic
The Curriculum Journal 303
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

communities and the structure of academic disciplines themselves. But
there are other communities and contexts that are important to a model
of education centred on the student, the teacher and knowledge. These are
the communities and contexts within the elds of recontextualisation and
reproduction. These also have their forms of knowledge. Important here
is formal school knowledge, or the subject-matter knowledge of the
teacher that relates to the school community, and the everyday
knowledge of the student, based in the general community within
the horizontal discourses identied by Bernstein. Each in this sense is its
own epistemic community. Social realist theory, however, tends to neglect
the distinction between knowledge and epistemic communities and
distinctions between these epistemic communities.
Here, Paechters (1998) idea of owned knowledge takes on relevance.
The concept was used in consideration of the relationship between
school and non-school knowledge, that is, the knowledge that students
bring to school. The concept can be extended: teachers owned knowledge
can also be identied. Such knowledge is based on the communities
relating to their own backgrounds and histories, social networks,
commitments and interests. Owned knowledge, Paechter writes, is learned
in a context and for a purpose (1998, 172) and, is that which contains
within it the potential for eective individual and group action. It
positions its possessor as an acting subject, able to use her or his
knowledge in a dynamic way (174). It is characterised by individual and
collective agency.
Teachers owned knowledge
In terms of the recontextualisation of knowledge, teachers owned know-
ledge becomes signicant. Recontextualisation involves the complex
interplay of ocial and pedagogic (teacher) agents, which emphasises that
although formal school knowledge is based upon a specic school
curriculum, it is also made in that context; it is acted upon by teachers
(and students). It raises questions about how formal school knowledge
becomes owned knowledge. Furthermore, how does formal school
knowledge the school geography that teachers teach relate to
disciplinary knowledge? Social realist theory points to the importance not
only of adequate subject knowledge, but that this subject knowledge is
located within the cosmology of the discipline.
The work of Brooks (2006a, 2006b, 2010) points to the fact that
teachers develop a personalised view of the subject and their geographical
expertise is seen as a guiding principle which inuences their practice and
their decision-making, but that disciplinary knowledge plays only a minor
part in this owned knowledge. In other words, the school subject as
taught and learned is not simply seen as a transformation of pre-existent
304 R. Firth
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

disciplinary knowledge. It is likely that the interface between the
requirements of the ocial curriculum and geography teachers owned
knowledge will mean that teachers have diering curriculum emphases,
but that they all work with broader principles of recontextualisation than
those concerned with knowledge-knower structures.
There are a number of issues. Of particular importance is the fact that
there are a range of possible understandings of the relationship between
the academic discipline and the school subject (Stengel 1997). We cannot
make sense out of either academic discipline or school subject within a
particular curricular conguration, Stengel argues, without examining
how the two concepts are used together. Interpreting them together
reveals the particular political and moral interests that bind the two
concepts in relation (1997, 586). How teachers understand the discipline
school subject relation thus becomes signicant. What needs emphasis
here is that over the last two decades there has been little connection
between the academic discipline and the school subject (Butt 2008; Firth
2011). Due to curriculum centralisation, schoolteachers have not been
encouraged to take forward curriculum thinking by working at depth
with the academic discipline. Social realist theory seems to imply that the
two are dierent but directly related in that the discipline inevitably
precedes and delimits the school subject. This has not been the case in
England.
It also suggests that teachers need a more detailed understanding of
their disciplines knowledge than that which relates to particular lessons,
individual units of study and learning outcomes. To what extent, then, do
teachers have the kind of sophisticated and coherent subject knowledge
needed to transform disciplinary content into school subject material in
defensible ways? This is not to undermine the knowledge base of teachers,
rather to ask what is possible. And how might university-based subject
specialists and their school-based counterparts relate to each other? In
this sense, in the concern with knowledge in education it may be more
useful to think about how dierent epistemic communities relate to each
other rather than to focus on how one form of knowledge relates with
another.
Students owned knowledge
Paechters (1998) distinction between owned knowledge and non-school
knowledge or everyday knowledge is also a signicant one when thinking
about the kind of knowledge students bring to school. The concept of
owned knowledge overlaps to some extent with the notion of funds of
knowledge (Moll and Greenberg 1990; Moll et al. 2001; Gonzales et al.
2005). Funds of knowledge is broadly interpreted as referring to
knowledge that children and young people construct outside school.
The Curriculum Journal 305
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

Work in this area examines points of conversion and conict between
such knowledge and school knowledge. Both draw attention to how
dierent epistemic communities might relate to each other.
Connecting Paechters notion of owned knowledge and funds of
knowledge with the growing trend in the geography discipline to
conceptualise young people as social and epistemic actors in their own
right also opens up possibilities. Over the last two decades academic
geographers have begun to redress the absence of young people from the
academic discipline (Valentine et al. 1998). Today, the geographies of
children and youth constitute a distinct research agenda within the
academic discipline both in the UK and more widely. It reects an
increasing interest in the diverse socio-spatial contexts and issues of
young peoples lives through which young peoples identities and
knowledge are made and remade.
These developments in the academic discipline call attention to the rich
repositories of accumulated geographical knowledge embedded in young
peoples everyday lives through the:
excavation of human experience, rst in terms of particular persons and
groups in particular places, situations and historical moments; and second,
as this excavation engenders a self-conscious eort to make intellectual and
emotional sense of what that experience reveals in terms of broader lived
structures and ways of being, willing and acting. (Seamon 2008, 15)
In this way, geography is already part of their lived experience and
increasingly takes on ordered meaning and signicance across contexts.
While there may be a dierence between the sophistication of this
knowledge and the structured formal nature of disciplinary knowledge,
such knowledge can readily come together and integrate in-school and
out-of-school knowledge and epistemic and literacy practices.
A particularly important area of development around geographies of
children and youth has been the increasing interest in the methodologies
of participatory research through which children and young people co-
construct geographical knowledge. These geographies can be located
within a wider dominion within the academic discipline, namely
participatory and public geographies. These geographies are concerned
with producing popular knowledge relevant to academics and non-
academics alike through the co-construction of knowledge. The public
sphere (Habermas 1991) has emerged as a theme in numerous disciplines
where the link between the concept of a public sphere and that of civil
society has taken on signicance.
These arguments draw attention to the changing nature of geogra-
phical knowledge in the academy and the need to pay attention to such
developments. They not only highlight the interrelatedness between
geographical concepts, ideas and research and young peoples
306 R. Firth
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

geographical lives; they call attention to the fact that peoples lives are
already geographical. The growing trend in the academic discipline to
conceptualise geographical life as a sphere of knowledge and to
conceptualise (socially construct) young people as social and epistemic
actors in their own right, as well as co-constructors of disciplinary
knowledge, has implications for how we conceptualise disciplinary
knowledge, the disciplinary knowledge/everyday knowledge distinction
as well as curriculum and pedagogy.
Social realism emphasises the importance of context-independent
knowledge which is powerful knowledge. It provides a reliable basis for
moving beyond particulars and therefore beyond ones own experience
(Young 2008b, 15). Young suggests that:
For children from disadvantaged homes, active participation in school may
be the only opportunity that they have to acquire powerful knowledge and
to be able to move, intellectually at least, beyond their local and particular
circumstances . . . if schools do no more than validate the experience of
pupils, they can only leave them there. (2008b, 15)
In criticising constructivist and progressive approaches to the curriculum,
which emphasise the use of everyday knowledge in order to promote
student inclusion, Muller (2000) similarly argues that there is no short
cut to competence in the subject disciplines of schools: A
curriculum premised on such a short cut can only turn out to be a new
impediment (71).
The arguments here conceptualise the lived geographies that students
bring to school dierently. They emphasise the dierent epistemic
communities, practices and relationships by which geographical knowl-
edge can be produced as well as the agency of young people in
disciplinary knowledge production. The arguments also highlight the
importance of the ways in which it is possible to think about knowledge
as being socially constructing the signicance here of constructing
young people as epistemic and social agents.
The above discussion has sought to emphasise the importance of the
dierences between the contexts involved in the recontextualisation and
acquisition of knowledge, and the dierences between the communities
and the forms of knowledge within these contexts. While social realism
does acknowledge the dierences between the forms of knowledge,
attention needs to be given to the nature of the dierent communities as
epistemic communities. Indeed, it may be useful to consider the transfer
of knowledge as being concerned with dierent epistemic communities
and how they relate with each other, rather than to focus on how one
form of knowledge relates with another.
This would enable the possibility of seeing the curriculum as a space of
interaction between the dierent epistemic communities (discipline,
The Curriculum Journal 307
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

teacher and student). This is a curriculum space where learning is as much
about learning to navigate and negotiate knowledge, its communities,
practices, relationships and its ways of constructing objects/subjects as it
is about learning particular subject concepts and processes. The
accentuation of epistemic communities, and in this sense the performance
of disciplinary ways of thinking and practising in relation to disciplinary
knowledge a view of domain knowledge in use clearly gives a more
active, interpretive role to both teachers and students and where the
curriculum is more than a relay for knowledge as seems to be implied by
the emphasis on knowledge acquisition. It is in such curriculum spaces
that the dierent epistemic communities and the forms of knowledge will
interact most eectively with each other and the educational aim of
developing students orientation to knowledge will be most fully
accomplished.
Socio-epistemic perspective in the eld of production
In the application of a socio-epistemic perspective to the eld of
knowledge production, social relations, i.e. social practices, are under-
theorised by social realist theorists. The reason for this is tied up with the
indeterminacy and fallibility of knowledge and the concern of social
realism with the demarcation of knowledge and the establishment of the
grounds for the selection of knowledge in the school curriculum.
Accepting the indeterminacy and fallibility of knowledge, as social
realism does, can lead in dierent theoretical directions; realism comes in
many forms, with dierent implications for the curriculum and learning.
Young and Muller (2008) argue that when indeterminacy and fallibility
are pressed too hard . . . [we] end up with a relativist position on
knowledge (521), which has implications for decisions about the
curriculum. From their viewpoint, the issue of indeterminacy fades
into insignicance in the context of the weak and fragmented assumptions
about knowledge that dominate educational studies and much curriculum
policy (ibid.). They thus defend their view of knowledge for an important
strategic reason: Our argument is that a social realist theory of
knowledge provides the best challenge to reductionist and instrumental
stances towards the curriculum that can only lead to the increase of
educational inequalities and injustice (2008, 522). Pushing fallibility and
indeterminacy hard draws attention to the social practices by which
knowledge is produced and to the problem of knowledge denition
but does not necessarily amount to assuming an anti-representational
stance, or an anti-realist one.
Longino (2002) argues that, one of the questions a theory of
knowledge should address is that of how knowledge, or what comes to
be treated as knowledge, is produced or generated (78). In this respect
308 R. Firth
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

social realisms emphasis on the structural objectivity of knowledge is
inevitably a partial answer. Longino emphasises that, the question of the
production of knowledge can be understood as a question about the
transformation of initial inputs into representational outputs (ibid.).
Social realist theory places emphasis on how such internal representations
are transformed into representational outputs the structuring of
knowledge. What are not given much emphasis are the means of
transformation the social practices themselves. Yet, as Longino argues,
the question of the production of knowledge is a causal question, one
answered in dierent ways, with dierent methodologies (ibid.) by
epistemic communities. In other words, within epistemic communities are
located the practices by which scientists deal with indeterminacy and
fallibilism the cognitive authority or the status of legitimacy that is
claimed and constructed (2002, 79). In spite of placing strong emphasis on
legitimation, social realism only attributes its importance through the
demarcation of knower structures; it does not consider the actual
practices by which it is acquired or earned. In the consideration of the
social and epistemic relations that underpin the production of knowledge
within the discipline, there is a need to identify those practices that can
warrant that attribution (ibid.). This does not reduce knowledge to the
interests or practices of groups of knowers and as a result make
knowledge arbitrary, as Young argues (2008a, 146); rather, it is to expand
the conception of epistemic communities how they actually work and
how knowledge is legitimised. This is to emphasise that disciplines are not
just structural demarcations, they are practising communities.
So, while I agree with the starting point of social realisms critique, my
main concern is that having accepted indeterminacy and fallibilism it
seems to suggest that we can somehow avoid confronting its implica-
tions (Balarin 2008, 524). As Balarin goes on to argue, social realism
thus nds in the community of experts the limit to fallibilism and to the
foundational relativism that the latter openly gives rise to (525). In this
sense, the recourse to epistemic communities as the main warrant to the
establishment of objective knowledge could too easily become a new form
of foundationalism. The under-theorisation of social relations in the eld
of knowledge production and the lack of emphasis on the social practices
within such communities by social realist theory yield a rather narrow
conception of disciplines. We need to bring into clear focus the
disciplinary practices that govern the production of knowledge within
epistemic communities. This is not to undermine geographical knowledge
or the grounds upon which decisions can be made about the selection of
knowledge for the curriculum. It is to draw attention to the conditions of
possibility of representation (rather than demarcation) and the need for a
more nuanced discussion about the limits of knowledge as a form of
representation, especially in relation to the social world. This is
The Curriculum Journal 309
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

particularly important when considering the educational use of knowl-
edge in the school curriculum. Knowledge always contains the possibility
of critical engagement. It is this emphasis that I am concerned not to close
o. It is here that, having accepted the indeterminacy and fallibilism of
knowledge, as educators we can confront the implications and so can
students. There is more to the issue of knowledge than its demarcation
and selection.
Concluding remarks
Social realism provides a theoretical basis for the place of disciplinary
knowledge in the school curriculum. It is bringing into view aspects of the
relation between the social and the epistemic in knowledge production;
that is, internal or cognitive interests. It is a starting point for thinking
about how the curriculum might be structured and the nature of
geographical knowledge made accessible. It is providing a language of
description that educators can use to engage with the structural nature
of their own disciplinary eld and the relationship between knowledge
production and curriculum and learning. In this sense social realism has
much to oer.
Bernsteinian social realist theory, however, also has limitations. There
is a neglect of the socio-epistemic relations between educational and
disciplinary contexts. Attention needs to be given to the nature of the
dierent communities and forms of knowledge located within these
contexts, and to the idea that it may be useful to view the recontextualisa-
tion and acquisition of knowledge as being concerned with the way in
which dierent epistemic communities relate with each other, rather than
to focus upon how one form of knowledge relates with another. The
emphasis on knowledge demarcation also brings its own problems; in
particular the lack of attention to the social practices by which knowledge
is warranted in epistemic communities, which is inhibiting when concerned
with educational aims beyond knowledge acquisition.
Other questions were also raised. One related to the what of
geography the intricate connection between the form and content of
knowledge and how this may have a bearing on the relationship
between the discipline and the curriculum. The second was concerned
with the usefulness of an overarching theory of knowledge. Here, there
were two concerns. One was to do with the specic characteristics of
disciplines and whether a non-generic epistemological model distinctive to
each discipline would be more appropriate when emphasis is placed on
students engagement with the distinctive disciplinary practices of
knowledge production. The second, whether emphasis would be better
placed on epistemic communities rather than knowledge when consider-
ing the recontextualisation and acquisition of such knowledge.
310 R. Firth
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

It seems fundamental to me that we, put an end to the anything
goes approach to knowledge, which makes any kind of educational or
curricular proposal as good as any other (Balarin 2008, 517). The need to
address the right to knowledge emphasised by social realism is a crucial
issue for education. At the same time, however, students also need the
right to address the authority of that knowledge through the development
of dispositions that question its denition and stability and thus acquire
an appropriate orientation to knowledge. In emphasising the importance
of the outcomes of knowledge building through the structures of
knowledge and knowers, it can, at times, seem as though social realism
pre-empts its own task by implicitly taking as unproblematic that which is
the very issue to be engaged with in education: the production of
knowledge. Social realism conceptualises knowledge more as an edice
than as a form of social action; in this way it limits the potential of subject
disciplines as educational resources. We need to expand the normative
enterprise around knowledge.
Notes
1. Such wording is not common in geography education. Recontextualisation refers to
the transfer of knowledge and in particular to the work of Basil Bernstein. His
theoretical ideas have seldom been used in geography education. Bernstein was
interested in how a society circulates its various forms of knowledge. His account
recognised a set of distributive rules, each of which is associated with a specic eld
of activity: a eld of production where new knowledge is produced and positioned; a
eld of recontextualisation where discourses from the eld of production are selected,
appropriated and repositioned to become educational knowledge; and a eld of
reproduction where pedagogic transmission and acquisition take place (with
dierential results). For Bernstein, recontextualisation involves the interplay between
two sub-elds: the ocial recontextualising eld (ORF) and the pedagogic
recontextualising eld (PRF). The ORF consists of specialised departments and
sub-agencies of the state and local educational authorities. The PRF consists of
university departments of education and their research as well as specialised
educational media and teachers. Acquisition is commonly associated with the idea of
education as the transmission of knowledge and a passive model of learning, which
has rightly been heavily criticised by educationalists. The use of the word by social
realist scholars and in this article has a dierent meaning; it explicitly presupposes the
active involvement of the learner in the process of acquiring knowledge.
2. Social realism is building on developments in related academic elds, especially the
sociology and philosophy of science. Realist theories of knowledge have largely taken
shape through the debates that developed in response to Kuhns (1970) account of
the development of science, Poppers (1972) earlier critique of positivism and the
work of Bhaskar (1975, 1978) and the development of critical realism. More recently
social realist theorists have used the work of Alexander (1995), Cassirer (1996, 2000),
Collins (1998), Shapin (1994), Ward (1996, 1997) and Williams (2002). The work is
extensive now. See, for example, Maton (2000, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010a, 2010b,
2010c); Maton and Moore (2010); Maton and Muller (2007); Moore (2000, 2004,
2007a, 2007b); Moore and Maton (2001); Moore and Young (2001, 2010); Muller
(2000, 2009); Young (2007, 2008a, 2008b, 2009, 2010); Young and Muller (2007,
2008, 2010). Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) is a development in the study of
knowledge and education that is being used to analyse a growing range of social and
The Curriculum Journal 311
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

cultural practices across increasingly dierent institutional and national contexts.
The Legitimation Code Theory website is a selection of journal articles, book
chapters, conference proceedings and presentations using Legitimation Code Theory
as a central framework for research since 2007. See: http://www.karlmaton.com/
3. Young (2008b, 2009) distinguishes between knowledge of the powerful and powerful
knowledge. Knowledge of the powerful refers to what Young once termed high-
status knowledge and Bourdieu (1986) would describe as the cultural capital of the
dominant or ruling classes. Many sociological critiques of school knowledge have
focused on the dominant relations between knowledge and power and the inequalities
that have been embodied historically in the disciplinary and subject basis of school
curricula. The concern has been with the legitimation of knowledge (who legitimises
what counts as knowledge) and who has access to it. However, the fact that some
knowledge is knowledge of the powerful, Young argues, tells us nothing about the
knowledge itself. The term powerful knowledge refers to what the knowledge can
do: move young people, intellectually at least, beyond their local and particular
circumstances. Sociological critiques of school knowledge have neglected the extent
to which the knowledge from which the disadvantaged are disproportionately
excluded disciplinary knowledge is not just the knowledge of the powerful, which
it has been for too long, but it is also, in an important sense, knowledge itself, that is
powerful knowledge that is valued in particular ways within society. It should be
emphasised that this is an argument for a return to a conservative view of education
and the purposes of schools. The traditional elite curriculum was grounded in
absolutist views of disciplinary knowledge and the idea of the intrinsic value of
certain bodies of knowledge that denied the historicity and sociality of knowledge, by
which we are left with a false objectivity based on the givenness of knowledge.
4. Over the last decade, in post-observation discussion with trainee teachers and their
more experienced teacher mentors about teaching and learning in geography, my
experience has been that geographical knowledge has rarely, if ever, gured in such
discussion. It has been marginalised by the exigencies of everyday practice and the
imperatives of policy. It raises the question: how can engagement with disciplinary
knowledge be enabled in schools and teacher education?
5. The issue of how dierent types of knowledge structures develop cumulative
knowledge takes us back to what has been seen as a recurrent problem of the social
sciences/humanities: an appropriate conceptual framework for establishing the
objectivity of knowledge and knowledge growth in order to close the gap between
the empiricist paradigm of science and the humanistic-hermeneutical paradigm of the
social sciences.
Notes on contributor
Roger Firth is a Fellow of St. Annes College and a university lecturer in the Department of
Education, University of Oxford. He teaches on the PGCE and MSc in Learning and
Teaching, as well as the supervision of doctoral students. His research interests include
knowledge and its impact on curriculum and pedagogy, and curriculum and pedagogic
development in geography and environmental education/education for sustainable
development.
References
Alexander, J.C. 1995. Fin de sie`cle social theory: Relativism, reduction and the problem of
reason. London: Verso.
Balarin, M. 2008. Post-structuralism, realism and the question of knowledge in educa-
tional sociology: A Derridean critique of social realism in education. Policy Futures in
Education 6, no. 4: 50719.
Bassett, K. 1999. Is there progress in human geography? The problem of progress in the
light of recent work in the philosophy and sociology of science. Progress in Human
Geography 23, no. 1: 2747.
312 R. Firth
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

Bernstein, B. 1990. Class, codes and control. Vol. IV: The structuring of pedagogic
discourse. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Bernstein, B. 1996. Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity: Theory, research, critique.
London: Taylor & Francis.
Bernstein, B. 1999. Vertical and horizontal discourse: An essay. British Journal of
Sociology of Education 20, no. 2: 15773.
Bernstein, B. 2000. Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity: Theory, research, critique.
2nd ed. Oxford: Rowman & Littleeld.
Bernstein, B. 2001. From pedagogies to knowledges. In Towards a sociology of pedagogy:
The contribution of Basil Bernstein to research, ed. A. Morais, H. Baillie, and B.
Thomas, 36384. New York: Peter Lang.
Bhaskar, R. 1975. A realist theory of science. London: Verso.
Bhaskar, R. 1998. The possibility of naturalism: A philosophical critique of the con-
temporary human sciences. London: Routledge.
Bourdieu, P. 1986. The forms of capital. In Handbook of theory and research for the
sociology of education, ed. J.G. Richardson, 24158. New York: Greenwood Press.
Brooks, C. 2006a. Geographical knowledge and teaching geography. International
Research in Geographical and Environmental Education 15, no. 4: 35369.
Brooks, C. 2006b. Geography teachers and making the school geography curriculum.
Geography 91, no. 1: 7583.
Brooks, C. 2010. Why geography teachers subject knowledge matters. Geography 95, no.
3: 1438.
Brown, J.D. 2004. Knowledge, uncertainty and physical geography: Towards the
development of methodologies for questioning belief. Transactions of the Institute of
British Geographers NS 29, no. 3: 36781.
Butt, G. 2008. Is the future secure for geography education? Geography 93, no. 3:
15865.
Cassirer, E. 1996. The philosophy of symbolic forms. Vol. 4: The metaphysics of symbolic
forms. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Cassirer, E. 2000. The logic of the cultural sciences: Five studies, trans. S.G. Lofts. New
Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Christie, F., and M. Macken-Horarik. 2007. Building verticality in subject English.
In Language, knowledge and pedagogy: Functional linguistic and sociological perspec-
tives, ed. F. Christie and J.R. Martin, 15683. London and New York: Continuum.
Cliord, N. 2002. The future of geography: When the whole is less than the sum of the
parts. Geoforum 33, no. 4: 4316.
Collins, R. 1998. The sociology of philosophies: A global theory of intellectual change.
Cambridge, MA: The Bellknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Daston, L., and P. Galison. 2007. Objectivity. New York: Zone Books.
Davies, P., and J. Hughes. 2009. The fractured arms of government and the premature
end of lifelong learning. Journal of Education Policy 24, no. 5: 595610.
Demeritt, D. 1996. Social theory and the reconstruction of science and geography.
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers NS 21, no. 3: 484503.
Demeritt, D. 2002. What is the social construction of nature? A typology and sym-
pathetic critique. Progress in Human Geography 26, no. 6: 76790.
Demeritt, D. 2005. Hybrid geographies, relational ontologies and situated knowledges.
Antipode 37, no. 4: 81823.
Department for Education (DfE). 2010. The importance of teaching: Schools White Paper
2010. Norwich: The Stationery Oce. http://www.education.gov.uk/publications/
eOrderingDownload/CM-7980.pdf.
Firth, R. 2011. Debates about knowledge and the curriculum: Some implications for
geography education. In Geography, education and the future, ed. G. Butt, 14164.
London: Continuum.
Freebody, P., K. Maton, and J.R. Martin. 2008. Talk, text, and knowledge in cumulative,
integrated learning: A response to intellectual challenge. Australian Journal of
Language and Literacy. http://ndarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3336/is_2_31/ai_
n31481661/?tagcontent;col1.
The Curriculum Journal 313
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

Golledge, R. 2002. The nature of geographic knowledge. Annals of the Association of
American Geographers 92, no. 1: 114.
Gonzales, N., L. Moll, and C. Amanti. 2005. Funds of knowledge: Theorising practice
in households, communities and classrooms. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Associates.
Gregory, K. 2000. The changing nature of physical geography. London: Hodder Arnold.
Gregory, K., A. Gurnell, and G. Petts. 2002. Restructuring physical geography.
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 27, no. 2: 13654.
Habermas, J. 1991. The structural transformation of the public sphere: An enquiry into a
category of bourgeois society. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Harris, R., and K. Burn. 2011. Curriculum theory, curriculum policy and the problem of
ill-disciplined thinking. Journal of Education Policy 26, no. 2: 24561.
Hoadley, U., and J. Muller. 2010. Codes, pedagogy and knowledge: Advances in
Bernsteinian sociology of education. In The Routledge international handbook of the
sociology of education, ed. M.W. Apple, S.J. Ball, and L.A. Gandin, 6978. Abingdon:
Routledge.
Hubbard, P., R. Kitchin, B. Bartley, and D. Fuller. 2005. Thinking geographically.
London: Continuum.
Inkpen, R. 2005. Science, philosophy and physical geography. London: Routledge.
Johnston, R.J. 1997. Australian geography seen through a glass darkly. Australian
Geographer 28, no. 1: 2937
Kirk, G., and P. Broadhead. 2007. Every child matters and teacher education: A UCET
position paper. Occasional Paper no. 17. London: UCET.
Kitchin, R. 2006. Positivistic geographies and spatial science. In Approaches to human
geography, ed. S. Aitken and G. Valentine, 209. London: Sage.
Kuhn, T.S. 1970. The structure of scientic revolutions. Chicago, IL: University of
Chicago Press.
Longino, H.E. 2002. The fate of knowledge. Woodstock, Oxon: Princeton University
Press.
Luckett, K. 2010. Knowledge claims and codes of legitimation: Implications for cur-
riculum recontextualisation in South African higher education. Africanus 40, no. 1:
418.
Martin, J., K. Maton, and E. Matruglio. 2010. Historical cosmologies: Epistemology and
axiology in Australian secondary school history discourse. Revista Signos 43, no. 74:
43363.
Maton, K. 2000. Languages of legitimation: The structuring signicance for intellectual
elds of strategic knowledge claims. British Journal of Sociology of Education 21, no.
2: 14767.
Maton, K. 2006. On knowledge structures and knower structures. In Knowledge, power
and educational reform: Applying the sociology of Basil Bernstein, ed. R. Moore, M.
Arnot, J. Beck, and H. Daniels, 4459. London: Routledge.
Maton, K. 2007. Knowledge-knower structures in intellectual and educational elds. In
Language, knowledge and pedagogy: Functional linguistic and sociological perspectives,
ed. F. Christie and J. Martin, 87108. London: Continuum.
Maton, K. 2008. Grammars of sociology: How to build knowledge or win friends and
inuence people. Proceedings of the Fifth International Basil Bernstein Symposium,
July, at Cardi University. http://www.cardi.ac.uk/socsi/newsandevents/events/
Bernstein/papers/Karl%20Maton.pdf.
Maton, K. 2009. Cumulative and segmented learning: Exploring the role of curriculum
structures in knowledge-building. British Journal of Sociology of Education 30, no. 1:
4357.
Maton, K. 2010a. Analysing knowledge claims and practices: Languages of legitimation.
In Social realism, knowledge and the sociology of education: Coalitions of the mind, ed.
K. Maton and R. Moore, 3559. London: Continuum.
Maton, K. 2010b. Canons and progress in the arts and humanities: Knowers and gazes.
In Social realism, knowledge and the sociology of education: Coalitions of the mind, ed.
K. Maton and R. Moore, 15478. London: Continuum.
314 R. Firth
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

Maton, K. 2010c. Reclaiming knowers: Advancing Bernsteins sociology of knowledge.
Paper presented at the Sixth International Basil Bernstein Symposium, June 30July
3, Grith Universitys South Bank Campus, Brisbane, Australia. http://www.
grith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_le/0008/221876/MatonRT.-doc.pdf.
Maton, K., and R. More. 2010. Introduction: Conditions of the mind. In Social realism,
knowledge and the sociology of education: Coalitions of the mind, ed. K. Maton and R.
Moore, 134. London: Continuum.
Maton, K., and J. Muller. 2007. A sociology for the transmission of knowledges. In
Language, knowledge and pedagogy: Functional linguistic and sociological perspectives,
ed. F. Christie and J.R. Martin, 1433. London and New York: Continuum.
Moll, L., C. Amanti, D. Ne, and N. Gonzalez. 2001. Funds of knowledge for teaching:
Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Theory into Practice
31, no. 2: 13241.
Moll, L.C., and J. Greenberg. 1990. Creating zones of possibilities: Combining social
contexts for instruction. In Vygotsky and education, ed. L.C. Moll, 31948.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Moore, R. 2000. For knowledge: Tradition, progressivism and progress in education
reconstructing the curriculum debate. Cambridge Journal of Education 30, no. 1:
1736.
Moore, R. 2004. Education and society: Issues and explanations in the sociology of
education. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Moore, R. 2007a. Hierarchical knowledge structure and the canon: A preference for
judgments. In Language, knowledge and pedagogy, ed. F. Christie and J. Martin, 109
30. London: Continuum.
Moore, R. 2007b. Sociology of knowledge and education. London: Continuum.
Moore, R., M. Arnot, J. Beck, and H. Daniels. 2006. Introduction. In Knowledge, power
and educational reform: Applying the sociology of Basil Bernstein, ed. R. Moore, M.
Arnot, J. Beck, and H. Daniels, 18. Abingdon: Routledge.
Moore, R., and K. Maton. 2001. Founding the sociology of knowledge: Basil Bernstein,
intellectual elds and the epistemic device. In Towards a sociology of pedagogy: The
contribution of Basil Bernstein to research, ed. A. Morais, I. Neves, B. Davies, and H.
Daniels, 15382. New York: Peter Lang.
Moore, R., and M. Young. 2001. Knowledge and the curriculum in the sociology of
education: Towards a reconceptualisation. British Journal of Sociology of Education
22, no. 2: 44561.
Moore, R., and M. Young. 2010. Reconceptualising knowledge and the curriculum in the
sociology of education. In Social realism, knowledge and the sociology of education:
Coalitions of the mind, ed. K. Maton and R. Moore, 1434. London: Continuum.
Muller, J. 2000. Reclaiming knowledge: Social theory, education and curriculum policy.
London: RoutledgeFalmer.
Muller, J. 2007. On splitting hairs: Hierarchy, knowledge and the school curriculum. In
Language, knowledge and pedagogy: Functional linguistics and sociological perspec-
tives, ed. F. Christie and J. Martin, 6586. London: Continuum.
Muller, J. 2009. Forms of knowledge and curriculum coherence. Journal of Education and
Work 22, no. 3: 20526.
Paechter, C. 1998. School and the ownership of knowledge. Pedagogy, Culture and
Society 6, no. 2: 16176.
Parker, J. 2002. A new disciplinarity: Communities of knowledge, learning and practice.
Teaching in Higher Education 7, no. 4: 37386.
Phillips, J. 2004. Laws, contingencies, irreversible divergence and physical geography.
The Professional Geographer 56, no. 1: 3743.
Popper, K. 1972. Objective knowledge: An evolutionary approach. Oxford: Clarendon
Press.
Qualications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). 2008. National Curriculum for
England at Key Stages 3 and 4: Programme of study for geography. Qualications
and Curriculum Authority. http://curriculum.qcda.gov.uk/key-stages-3-and-4/sub-
jects/key-stage-3/geography/index.aspx.
The Curriculum Journal 315
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4

Rhoads, B. 1999. Beyond pragmatism: The value of philosophical discourse for physical
geography. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 89, no. 4: 76071.
Rouse, J. 1992. What are cultural studies of scientic knowledge? Congurations 1, no. 1:
122.
Seamon, D. 2008. Place, placelessness, insideness, outsideness in John Sayles Sunshine
State. Aether 3: 119.
Shapin, S. 1994. Social history of truth: Civility and science in seventeenth century England.
Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.
Sheppard, E., and P. Plummer. 2007. Commentary: Toward engaged pluralism in
geographical debate. Environment and Planning A 39, no. 11: 25458.
Staeheli, L., and D. Mitchell. 2005. The complex politics of relevance in geography.
Annals of the Association of American Geographers 95, no. 2: 35772.
Stengel, B. 1997. Academic discipline and school subject: Contestable curricular
concepts. Journal of Curriculum Studies 29, no. 5: 585602.
Trudgill, S., and A. Roy. 2003. Contemporary meanings in physical geography. London:
Hodder Arnold.
Valentine, G., T. Skelton, and D. Chambers. 1998. Cool places: An introduction to youth
and youth cultures. In Cool places: Geographies of youth cultures, ed. G. Valentine, T.
Skelton, and D. Chambers, 133. London: Routledge.
Ward, K. 2005. Geography and public policy: A recent history of policy relevance.
Progress in Human Geography 29, no. 3: 31019.
Ward, S. 1996. Reconguring truth. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littleeld.
Ward, S. 1997. Being objective about objectivity: The ironies of standpoint epistemo-
logical critiques of science. Sociology 31, no. 4: 77391.
Williams, B. 2002. Truth and truthfulness: An essay in genealogy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press.
Yates, L., and M. Young. 2010. Editorial: Globalisation, knowledge and the curriculum.
European Journal of Education 45, no. 1: 410.
Young, M. 2007. Durkheim and Vygotskys theories of knowledge and their implications
for a critical educational theory. Critical Studies in Education 48, no. 1: 4362.
Young, M. 2008a. Bringing knowledge back in: From social constructivism to social realism
in the sociology of education. Abingdon: Routledge.
Young, M. 2008b. From constructivism to realism in the sociology of the curriculum.
Review of Research in Education 32, no. 1: 128.
Young, M. 2009. What are schools for? In Knowledge, values and educational policy, ed.
H. Daniels, H. Lauder, and J. Porter, 1018. London: Routledge.
Young, M. 2010. Alternative educational futures for a knowledge society. European
Educational Research Journal 9, no. 1: 112.
Young, M., and J. Muller. 2007. Truth and truthfulness in the sociology of educational
knowledge. Theory and Research in Education 5, no. 2: 173201.
Young, M., and J. Muller. 2008. The cosmic community: A response to Mari Balarins
Post-structuralism, realism and the question of knowledge in educational sociology.
Policy Futures in Education 6, no. 4: 51923.
Young, M., and J. Muller. 2010. Three educational scenarios for the future: Lessons from
the sociology of knowledge. European Journal of Education 45, no. 1: 1127.
316 R. Firth
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
N
e
w
s
a
m

L
i
b
r
a
r
y

a
n
d

A
r
c
h
i
v
e

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
s
,

I
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
e

o
f

E
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
,

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
i
t
y

o
f

L
o
n
d
o
n
]

a
t

1
7
:
5
4

0
8

J
u
l
y

2
0
1
4