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Bernstein, Bourdieu and the

New Literacy Studies


James Collins
State University of New York /Albany, NY, USA

This essay discusses early and contemporary work by Basil Bernstein, comparing it
with that of Pierre Bourdieu, the other major theorist of social and educational
reproduction. I argue that their work jointly represents a legacy of neoclassical social
theory with continuing relevance for educational research. It presents substantive
analyses of institutional differentiation within contemporary societies, empirically
robust arguments about class-specific symbolic resources, and insightful hypotheses
about mechanisms of socialization and subjectivity. I develop the argument by
examining two significant works in the new literacy studies Social linguistics and
literacies and Gender, literacy, curriculum in light of their affinities with, and
departures from, this ``reproduction'' legacy.

INTRODUCTION
As an American academic with research interests in literacy, language, and social
theory and political commitments to social critique, I welcome this opportunity to
re-engage the work of Basil Bernstein, his collaborators and critics. It is my
impression that Bernstein's work is largely ignored in the United States in such
fields as sociolinguistics and anthropology, except for the famous debates about
restricted and elaborated codes of nearly 3 decades ago. This neglect is
unfortunate, attesting more to American insularity and cross-disciplinary incom-
prehension than to the merits of the work.
What is striking upon reading recent collections such as Pedagogy, symbolic
control, and identity or reviewing volumes of Class, codes, and control are
Bernstein's ongoing contributions to the sociology of education and to social
reproduction theory. In his writing, Bernstein frequently asserts the importance of
social position over generic human potential, he questions the interactionist
paradigms that pervade certain styles of sociolinguistic and classroom research

Direct all correspondence to: James Collins, Department of Anthropology, State University of New
York /Albany, Albany, NY 12222, USA. E-mail: j.p.collins@albany.edu

Linguistics and Education 11(1): 65 78 All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.
Copyright D 2000 by Elsevier Science Inc. ISSN: 0898 5898
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(Bernstein, 1996c), and he analyzes competence models so-called progressive


or child-centered models for their class basis and implicit class interest
(Bernstein, 1975). In his emphasis on the centrality of social position in language
and consciousness, his skepticism about interactionist theories of the social order,
and his efforts to place competence models of language and human development
in their sociological context, Bernstein's work shares many affinities with the
research and writing of Pierre Bourdieu.
The work of Bernstein is properly understood as contributing to a body of
theories concerned with social and cultural reproduction in advanced capitalist
societies; so also is the work of Bourdieu. For each, language is conceptualized as
a complex symbolic means through which knowledge is transmitted and
transmuted, identities are constructed and expressed, and class legacies organized
and imposed. Granted these similarities, there are also undeniable differences of
approach and emphasis. Bourdieu, for instance, has a more robust account of
class relations in complex societies, while Bernstein has provided more penetrat-
ing, politically-informed accounts of pedagogy in and out of schools. In what
follows, I will try to suggest some reasons why it is fruitful to compare the
research programs of Bernstein and Bourdieu. In particular, I will briefly discuss
their analyses of the institutional sectors of modern social formations, their
arguments about class-specific symbolic resources, and their concerns with
mechanisms of socialization and subjectivity.
These foci, I will argue, comprise a legacy of neoclassical social theory which
has continuing relevance for educational research and particular relevance for
critical literacy studies. It is a legacy that challenges individualist-psychological
models of ``the literacy act'' as well as faith in meritocratic images of the school's
social function both of which are characteristics of uncritical literacy research.
In developing this argument, I will examine two investigations of literacy
James Gee's (1996) Social linguistics and literacies and Alison Lee's (1996)
Gender, literacy, curriculum (1996), which analyze institutionally-contextualized
discourse and the processes of identity formation. Starting from a foucauldian
perspective on discourse, power, and identity, each study addresses the nature of
discourse and the relation between schooled orders and social orders. In so doing,
each raises and explores questions critically germane to Bernstein and Bourdieu's
shared concerns.

COMPARING BERNSTEIN AND BOURDIEU


Despite the many differences of their research programs, Bernstein and Bourdieu
share a theoretical appreciation of institutional differentiations within modern,
class-based societies. In Bourdieu, this concern with sectoral differentiation has
been expressed in the study of fields: a range of analyses of scientific, religious,
academic, and literary arenas of endeavor, in which an actor's or group's
BERNSTEIN AND BOURDIEU: LITERACY STUDIES COMPARED 67

symbolic resources and fundamental dispositions figure centrally in struggles to


define standards and judge achievements, as well as gain material advantage.
Whether analyzing nineteenth century literature, twentieth century painting and
photography, or the post-1968 French university, Bourdieu is concerned with
how agents' perceptions and strategies are connected to their position in the wider
society as well as their position in the specific field of endeavor (Bourdieu, 1984,
1989, 1993). What makes Bourdieu's analysis of fields non-reductive is his
insistence on the relative autonomy of the cultural vis a vis the economic. Neither
literary nor academic production, for example, is simply determined by the class
origins of literary or academic producers, but the stance of disinterest found in
both fields (``art for art's sake,'' ``pure'' vs. ``applied'' research) is a strategy of
symbolic distinction within each arena, and one which requires a class privilege
that it seems to deny.
Such a concern with relatively autonomous institutional sectors is found also
in Bernstein's analyses of relations between what he calls ``fields of production''
and ``fields of symbolic control.'' In his and associates' analyses, different
branches of the ``new class,'' specialized in economic or ideological production,
oppose each other over issues of ``progressive'' versus ``performance-oriented''
education. Those specialized in the field of (economic) production, e.g., en-
gineers, accountants, and managers, prefer performance models of pedagogy and
``clear standards,'' those specialized in the field of symbolic (ideological) control,
e.g. teachers, therapists, counselors, academic researchers, and media workers,
prefer competence models of pedagogy and ``child-centered'' approaches ( Bern-
stein, 1996a; Jenkins, 1990).
The theoretical concern with sectoral differentiation, within society and within
the educational arena itself, is found also in Bernstein's studies of the dynamics
of the recontextualizing field, in particular the congruence or conflict between the
pedagogical recontextualizing field (roughly, schools of education and teacher
training) and the official recontextualizing field (roughly, state-level education
policy).1 Bernstein's analysis in ``Pedagogizing Knowledge'' (Bernstein, 1996a)
of competence versus performance pedagogies, their relative economic cost, and
their social bases of support in de-industrializing ``research and information
societies,'' contributes to a sophisticated account of ongoing, business- and
state-led ``reform from the top'' in contemporary higher education. His analysis
concerns higher education in Britain, but it applies, in grosso modo, to the
United States. It would be useful for anyone seeking to understand as, for
example, research on academic literacy in the UK and US does the relation
between institutional expectations about discourse and the discursive where-
withal of new groups of students.
The relation between institutional expectations and students' discursive
resources lies at the heart of the question of the role of language in education,
a topic to which Bourdieu and Bernstein have each made influential and
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controversial contributions. In Bourdieu and Passeron's Reproduction (1977 ), the


relation between institutional expectations and student language was theorized
and analyzed in terms of cultural capital school-sanctified symbolic resources,
forms of knowledge, and ways of speaking, which were unequally distributed
between social classes and operated as a family-transmitted advantage, interact-
ing with the ``implicit pedagogic message[s]'' of schools to benefit the privileged
and handicap the unprivileged. Despite extensive criticism of the capital concept
for presuming the coherence of elite culture (Erickson, 1996; Nespor, 1987 ) and
the fit between official sectors and economic sectors (Haeri, 1997; Woolard,
1985 ), the concept has proven fruitful in theorizing and analyzing the changing
relations between the cultural and the economic in capitalist societies and, more
specifically, the role of the school as a mediating institution in the culture/
economy interface.
A series of correlational studies have used the concept of cultural capital to
explore socially-stratified access to cultural knowledge and account for variation
in school achievement in countries such as Holland, Belgium, Greece, Australia,
and the United States ( Niehoff & Ganzeboom, 1996 ). In a comparative-
historical essay The future of intellectuals and the rise of the new class,
Gouldner (1979) emphatically analyzes cultural capital as symbolic disposses-
sion, the expropriation of a common symbolic inheritance, in which familial
transmission turns what was once common into a class-based resource that, by
means of educational credentialing, is further transformed into individual claims
on social resources (see also Collins & Thompson, 1994). Guillory's (1993)
analysis of the historical dynamics of literary canon formation explores the
concept of cultural capital and, more specifically, linguistic capital, as part of an
inquiry into the historical role of the school in structuring the imaginary shared
culture let's call it ``the humanistic tradition'' or ``the standard language'' of
our conflicted, divided societies.
Bernstein's counterpart to the concept of cultural or linguistic capital is the
theory of elaborated and restricted codes. Like symbolic capital, elaborated and
restricted codes are transmitted through families, depending upon the families'
position in a modern division of labor. The concept of elaborated and restricted
codings emphasized the communicative dimension, focusing upon the proper-
ties of messages as more abstract or particular, more context-independent or
context-presupposing, and it tended to ignore or downplay the non-referential
signaling of identity and group membership, the rituals of inclusion and
exclusion, of domination and submission, that have pre-occupied Bourdieu's
(1991) analyses of language and symbolic power. Despite the extensive
criticism of the theory of codes, especially as it became part of the bitter
American debates about cultural and linguistic deficits (Collins, 1988; Edwards,
1976 ), the theory has received reasonable empirical support. To give one
example,2 Hasan (1991) reports, on the basis of analyses of a large corpus of
BERNSTEIN AND BOURDIEU: LITERACY STUDIES COMPARED 69

talk between working-class and middle-class mothers and their children, that
through their ways of speaking and interacting, middle-class mothers socialized
their children to more personalistic, individuating modes of expression, an
important dimension of ``elaborated'' coding, while working-class mothers
socialized their children to more positional, group-oriented modes of expres-
sion, a hallmark of ``restricted'' coding.3 As is well known, the school values
the personalizing, generalizing styles of expression characteristic of elaborated
coding, while devaluing the socially-oriented, particularizing styles of expres-
sion characteristic of restricted coding.
Such, in overly schematic form, are the class, codes, and education thesis.
Along with Bourdieu's arguments about cultural and linguistic capital, this thesis
has been central to arguments about the symbolic-communicative underpinnings
of social reproduction. In Bernstein and Bourdieu's research programs, the
emphasis has been on the reproduction of social hierarchies, so it has been
important for each to ask how agents are socialized, how they acquire symbolic
resources, and how the modes of acquisition marks their social being. Bourdieu's
response to this structuration problem has been the concept of habitus
variously defined as embodied social structure, as schemes of judgement,
perception, and action derived from one's position in society, and as pre-
conscious second nature, that is, history forgotten ( Bourdieu, 1977, 1984).
In Reproduction, Bourdieu and Passeron (1977 ) argue for a linguistic
habitus, a class-based relation to language, in which there are bourgeois,
[lower] middle class, and working class variants: In the first, we find a
characteristic ``ease, tendency to intellectualism and euphemistic moderation,''
in the second, an ``anxious conformity to the legitimate norm of academic
correctness,'' and in the last, ``an expressiveness . . . tend[ing] to move from
particular case to particular case . . . shun[ing] the bombast of fine words
through banter [and] rudeness.'' (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977, pp. 116, 134,
n12). What is important is that the relation to language is consistent with other
class-inculcated dispositions toward culture (as explored in Bourdieu, 1984) and
that, as an ``under-determined determinism,'' habitus/field interactions contri-
bute to a precarious reproduction allowing for contradiction, conflict, and
historical change (Kontopoulos, 1993).
Bernstein's early work addressed the problem of childhood socialization
in class-based societies. The initial research on codes, both theoretical and
empirical, emphasized the transmission of codes through familial modes of
control (see Bernstein, 1975). Later writings by Bernstein and collaborators
placed emphasis on restricted or elaborated code orientations, rather than
codes per se, suggesting a relational dynamism in place of the more static
understanding of code. As Hasan has argued recently in this journal (Hasan,
1998), code orientations form a rough analogue to the habitus concept:
They are domestically-socialized orientations to language and discourse, the
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taken-for-granteds of communication, which may presume a social matrix of


individuals, a ``society of strangers,'' or a social matrix of shared practical life,
a ``society of intimates.''4 Unlike the habitus concept, though consistent with
Bernstein's focus on education and attention to referential language, the relation
between code orientations and other general dimensions of class differences in
cultural practice (say in sport, food, dress, or music) have not been explored.
However, the thesis of code orientations shares with the habitus concept an
emphasis on a socially-constituted, contextually-sensitive tendency or disposi-
tion to act and to judge, dispositions which are generative but not fixed, closed,
or totalizing in their outcomes.
This shared concern with socially structured mechanisms or schema,
constitutive of individual and collective subjectivities, but not part of con-
scious identities, is a classic problem of structuration theory ( Kontopoulos,
1993). In Bernstein's work, the dynamism of code orientation results from the
changing relation between such orientations and aspects of the pedagogic
order such as classification and framing the openness or closedness of
curriculum and classroom interaction. As we are reminded by the recent
controversies over literature-rich (open) versus phonics (closed) models of
reading or child-centered (open) versus standards-driven (closed) pedagogies
(Adams, 1993; Edelsky, 1996 ), such contrasts as open versus closed are
fundamental in their implications for how schooling constructs relations to
authority, language, and subjectivity. They are also hotly contested arenas in
which, especially in this decade, the political realm overtly intervenes in the
pedagogic arena as we see by the efforts of state legislatures in the US to
stipulate reading programs ( Leman, 1997 ) or the similar government-led
interventions in classroom pedagogy in the UK ( Bourne, 2000; Daily Tele-
graph, 1998; Street, 1999).

NEW LITERACY STUDIES AND GEE'S SOCIAL LINGUISTICS AND


LITERACIES
The field of New or Critical Literacy Studies shares with Bernstein and Bourdieu
a political and sociological conception of the relations between language,
identity, and institutional orders. New literacy studies can be contrasted with
standard or mainstream view of literacy, what (Street, 1984, 1993) calls
``autonomous models'' of literacy. The standard view, whether in academic
debates, or the policy pronouncements of governments in the UK and US,
assumes that there is a straightforward connection between literacy, social
progress, and mental development.5 In this view of the world, high literacy rates
ensure high rates of employment, and literacy itself is a set of skills that ensure
individuals' economic fitness. The standard view is also techno-determinist, and
hence, the term ``autonomous model,'' for literacy is viewed as sui generis, as a
BERNSTEIN AND BOURDIEU: LITERACY STUDIES COMPARED 71

socially neutral ``technology of the intellect'' that in itself produces significant


transformations in cultural orders as well as individual cognition (Adams, 1993;
Goody, 1986; Olson, 1977).
In a challenge to these pervasive and influential assumptions, work within the
New Literacy Studies has argued that literacy is not a socially-neutral technique,
but a socially-embedded practice, inseparable from the historically-specific
ideologies and institutional frameworks within which cultural events of reading
and writing are given shape and significance (Boyarin, 1993; Collins, 1995; de
Castell & Luke, 1983; Street, 1984). In his influential Social linguistics and
literacies, James Gee (1996) has argued for a contextual understanding of literacy
and, more specifically, that literacy is a Discourse. In Gee's framework,
Discourse with a capital ``D'' is a foucauldian construct, referring not solely to
talk or text but more broadly to configurations of values and practices, modes of
conduct as well as communication, specific to groups and institutions. Individuals
are socialized into Discourses; they acquire primary and secondary Discourses;
and, as with Bourdieu's habitus, the mode of acquisition indelibly marks what is
acquired. Identities are formed within Discourses, but Discourses are often in
conflict. The visions of self and world to which they give rise and grant
coherence are always partial or perspectival.6
In a series of analyses of what he has called ``the narrativization of experience
in the oral style,'' Gee contrasts domestically acquired and school-expected
modes of narrative. These are roughly equivalent to Bernstein's restricted versus
elaborated codes, Bourdieu's bourgeois and working-class parlance. Through
intensive analysis of particular narratives, Gee reveals the formal sophistication
and logic of vernacular narrative and narrative tradition with singular detail and
coherence (but see Hymes, 1996, for a critical response). He also documents the
centrality of social relations in the oral or restricted narrative style which
presumes and emerges out of a ``shared patterns of practical existence,'' in
Bernstein's and Hasan's phrasing (cf. footnote 3). This contrasts with the
presumption of the isolated individual and of speech in a world in which nothing
is taken for granted unless ``verbally revealed,'' as in the literate, schooled, or
elaborated style of narrative. Gee's analyses of narrative style can be understood
as simultaneously exploring code and code orientation, linguistic capital and
linguistic habitus. That is, the analyses uncover both a socially embedded and
institutionally evaluated discursive outcome (the code/capital of children's
``sharing time'' and ``sharing assembly'' stories) and a socially embedded,
institutionally-evaluated relation to language (i.e., practical, generative orienta-
tion /habitus).
Gee further explores class- and community-based relations to language in
analyses of what he terms ``discourses, individuals, and performances'' (Gee,
1996, pp. 166 181). Here, he contrasts how Euro American upper-class and
African American and Euro American working-class high school students
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respond to a written story and an explicitly posed task of ranking characters in the
story on degrees of ethical culpability. After analyzing the use of referential noun
phrases, moral-evaluative vocabulary, and reliance on textual features or con-
textual understandings in the different groups' responses to the story, Gee reports
three stable orientations to text-and-talk. These he relates to communicative
traditions as well as ethnoracial tradition and social class: There is an upper-class
solipsism, subjectivism, and individual-moral certainty; a Euro American work-
ing-class/middle-class explicitness, text-loyalty, and reason-giving; and an Afri-
can American working-class implicitness, group, rather than text-focus, and
social-moral emphasis. The findings show affinities with Bernstein's code
orientations, though the upper-class speakers are perhaps more verbally con-
fident than verbally elaborated; the findings are also congruent with Bourdieu
and Passeron's analyses of a bourgeois, middle-class, and working-class
linguistic habitus.
Like Bernstein and Bourdieu, Gee makes an analytic distinction between
primary socialization (in domestic or face-to-face peer groups) and secondary
socialization (in non-intimate educational or occupational settings). Like them, he
also emphasizes the conflict, for a majority of students, between the codes/capital
and the orientations/ habitus of the home versus those of the school. Insisting that
literacy is a Discourse, more specifically, that plural literacies are acquired
through the practice of Discourses, Gee argues against any reification of literacy
or language, any tendency to view literacy or language as isolable communicative
technologies, as skills which can simply be added to already-formed social
subjects without challenging, perhaps disordering or disabling, prior discourses
and identities.
Gee's conception of literacy-as-discourse requires, I would argue, the vision of
field-differentiated institutional dynamics, symbolic resources mediating the
cultural and economic, and subject-forming socialization found in the socio-
logical projects of Bernstein and Bourdieu. What Gee provides, in addition, is an
impressive range of discourse analyses, exploring everyday language use in its
own right, rather than as an always-already-lacking complement to the schooled
or elaborated or dominant code. He also shows a sharper theoretical appreciation
of discursive as well as social contradiction than either Bernstein or Bourdieu (see
Collins, 1993, for a fuller argument), including an appreciation of the rational
potentials of Discourses-in-conflict. What Gee would gain from more attention to
Bernstein and Bourdieu, complementing his project, is an analytically sharper
and more substantive understanding of the sociohistorical contexts of schooling
of the often active role of the state in regulating the school/economy relation
the institutional differentiation of society and the sectoral differentiation of
education-as-a-system and of the long traditions of inquiry in sociology and
anthropology into the social-cum-symbolic dynamics of group formation and
group conflict.
BERNSTEIN AND BOURDIEU: LITERACY STUDIES COMPARED 73

NEW LITERACY STUDIES AND LEE'S GENDER, LITERACY,


CURRICULUM

The research programs of Bernstein and Bourdieu are essentially concerned with
the reproduction of class hierarchies. Although the habitus concept, as originally
developed (Bourdieu, 1977 ), was centrally defined along the axis of gender, the
theorization of gender-in-class has never been seriously addressed by Bourdieu.
Similarly, although the relation between mothers and children and mothers and
schools is a continuous theme running through Bernstein's writing, as well as
much of the empirical research exploring the theory (e.g., Bernstein, 1973),
gender is largely taken for granted. It is hard to know, for example, how gender
dynamics might be shaped by or contribute to code orientations or, for that
matter, pedagogic classification and framing.7
Alison Lee's (1996 ) Gender, literacy, curriculum redresses this lack. It
explores how curriculum classification and classroom framing both embed and
construct gender asymmetries. In a later chapter of her book, Lee critiques
systemic linguistic and genre studies of school curricula that present the
``elaborated'' knowledge structures of geography science curricula as if they
are socially neutral. She argues instead that the content, organization, and
realization of such knowledge presumes and values a masculine, pro-capitalist
identity. Defining subjectivities as contested amalgams of stances toward the
world, knowledge, and the self, Lee argues for the centrality of gender in
discursive identities and subjectivities, as these are formed in practices of reading,
writing, and discussion, practices which may agree or conflict with the ``codes of
the school.''
The overall argument and analysis are quite complex, ranging across text-
books, classroom interaction, and the written geography essays that two
students produce, as well as official and academic meta-discourses about
geography as a discipline/genre. I cannot do them justice but will treat briefly
the analyses of textbooks and classroom interactions. In Lee's reading of school
geography texts, she explores how pervasive binaries ``skills'' versus ``con-
tent,'' ``man'' versus ``land,'' ``fact'' versus ``value'' create a representation of
the world in which women and nonwhites are always secondary actors; males
and whites are primary actors; and market-oriented instrumental rationality is
the logic of things in the world. (Interestingly, Gee presents a similar analysis
of biology texts at the end of his book, in a section on ``science and the
lifeworld'' [Gee, 1996, pp. 181 190]).
In her analysis of classroom practices, Lee presents complex accounts of how
subject positions within a disciplinary discourse here geography articulate
with broader domains of gender. In particular, she describes a classroom ecology
in which ``boys talk, girls listen.'' Not resting with this oft-reported finding about
gender and silence, she then analyzes a crosscutting opposition of speaking and
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writing, in which, roughly put, ``boys talk, girls write.'' Lee is not interested in
whether one discursive practice or another is better for school achievement it
seems that the ``writerly'' girls do get more school prizes, including those in
geography. Instead, her analysis focuses on how boys' geography talk fits with
their out-of-school masculinities while girls' geography writing does not fit their
out-of-school identities. The girls' sense of the purposes of classroom talk,
writing, and knowledge differs from that of the boys. In addition, both the
curricular content of school geography (emphasizing control of nature and
commodity production) and the dynamics of male student teacher talk margin-
alize a female student who tries to initiate a discussion and articulate a
biophilosophical counter-perspective to the standard technical view. The lesson
of this lesson, and the suggestiveness of Lee's analysis, is that curriculum content
and classroom interaction reveal intersecting gender dynamics.
Lee's central focus is the domain of subjectivity the construction of
gendered subjects in the space of positions and the taking of positions within
school disciplines such as geography, the interpersonal domain of classrooms,
and the fields of academic commentary and state-led literacy reforms. As with
Gee, her analysis is informed by a foucauldian appreciation of power/ knowl-
edge as discourse and practice, and this, together with commitments to
ethnographic and linguistic analysis, give her account a contextual and verbal
richness largely missing from Bernstein and Bourdieu's writing (if not that of
some of their students).
Her theoretical and analytical explorations of subject-formation are both
congruent with and a challenge to Bourdieu's analyses of the habitus. They are
congruent because like the habitus, subjectivities are pre-conscious social
positions and, as with Bourdieu, the space of subject positions is part of the
domain of analysis. They are a challenge, however, because Lee's gendered
subjectivities are contradictory and textually realized in a ways rarely encoun-
tered in Bourdieu's writing about habitus (though see the essay on Flaubert and
the artistic habitus in Bourdieu (1993)). Similarly, Lee's concern with disciplin-
ary subjectivities can be related to Bernstein's analysis of the field-specific
organization of knowledge and the production of identities (Lee, 1996). But her
emphasis on the gendered subject, and on a feminist theory of a fragmented,
contradiction-ridden subjectivity, introduces an entirely different, and heretofore
absent dimension of analysis, one which would call into question Bernstein's
suggestive but unidirectional deriving of identities from control/pedagogy
matrices (Bernstein, 1996a).
This said, it is also clear that Lee's announced concern with the role of the
state in shaping literacy curricula remains underdeveloped. It would benefit from
a careful macrostructural analysis, such as Bernstein's (1996a) study of the role of
corporations and the state in educational restructuring in Britain in the 1980s. It
would benefit also from historical perspectives, such as provided in Bourdieu's
BERNSTEIN AND BOURDIEU: LITERACY STUDIES COMPARED 75

analyses of the role of the state in constructing ``legitimate language'' (1991


[1975]) and the ``educational market'' (Bourdieu, 1984, 1989; Bourdieu &
Passeron, 1977).

CONCLUSION
We should not minimize the significant differences which exist between works
in the new literacy studies and Bernstein or Bourdieu's assumptions or
procedures. As I read them, both Bernstein and Bourdieu commit to realist
epistemologies; despite Bourdieu's concern with reflexivity and practice, and
Bernstein's nervousness at being too determinist, both clearly believe in the
realism of class structure. Gee and Lee are more relativist or post-modern in
their epistemologies; each gives a large, constitutive role to discourse in the
social order. These differences show also in basic methodologies. Bernstein and
Bourdieu rely on and prefer large-scale survey and /or language corpus analysis,
while Gee and Lee develop theoretical arguments via intensive analyses of
particular cases.
These differences registered, it remains that all four researchers are concerned
with macro-logics of power with the political and economic structuring the
field of education and language; and concerned also with the micro-logics of
power the production and reproduction of identities and subjectivities in
education and by means of language. Though Bernstein and Bourdieu should
not be taken as theoretical gurus, they should be read, hopefully in ways that will
bring out the richness of their empirical as well as theoretical work, its affinities
with some of the best work in the new literacy studies, and its relevance for the
tasks ahead.

NOTES
1. Whether concerning the Snowden Report's embrace of progressive education theory in the
late 1960s (Bernstein, 1996a) or the Dearing Report's proposal to render the higher education
sector more overtly performance-oriented, hierarchical, and market competitive in the 1990s
(Shattuck, 1998).
2. See also the studies reported in volumes of Class, codes, and control, for example, Hawkins
(1973) and Turner (1973); Jennie Cook-Gumperz' early work, Cook (1972); and the research of the
1980s and 1990s, reported in Bernstein (1996b).
3. In brief, Hasan argues that the middle-class mothers ``subscribe to the principle of
individuation, acting as if hardly anything can be taken for granted,'' as if knowledge of the other lies
primarily in ``verbally revealed selves.'' Conversely, working-class mothers ``subscribe to the
principle of naturalized reflexivity [,] acting as if most things can be taken for granted,'' as if
knowledge of the other lies in ``shared patterns of practical existence.'' (Hasan, 1991, pp. 103 104).
4. Not surprisingly, in Bernstein's work, code orientations have been defined on the same axes as
codes: positional versus personal control; sociocentric versus individuating reflexivity; and
universalizing versus particularizing meanings.
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5. The fact that neither the employment situation nor the ``national mind'' conform to the rosy
outlook has led the American President and the British Prime Minister both to proclaim literacy
declines and crises on the basis of dubious evidence (Bracey, 1997; Yorkshire Post, 1998).
6. Like the constituent social groups and the institutional orders that they enact and give
expression to Discourses are often in conflict and often embed basic contradictions for example, in
modern educational discourse, between the promise of equal opportunity and the reality of enduring
class division.
7. Bourdieu argues in various passages in Distinction (1984) that class hierarchies impose a
stricter gender division on working-class households, as most social norms are more strictly imposed
on working-class communities. Similarly, Bernstein (1996b) discusses research by Holland (1986)
showing that field position affects how gender is regulated. Families in the field of economic
production expect more traditional ``feminine'' behavior of their daughters than do families in the field
of symbolic control. Although very general, and subject to necessary modification, such arguments
and findings provide ways to begin conceptualizing gender-and-class that would enable work on class
reproduction to be brought into critical engagement with feminist research. See also Epstein (1992),
Krais (1993), and Reay (1997) for feminist engagements with the habitus concept.

REFERENCES
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