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Code Theory: Basil Bernstein

Basil Bernstein (1924–2000) was a North London schoolteacher turned sociologist of education, appointed to the Karl Mannheim Chair of Sociology of Education at the Institute of Education at the University of London. From the 1960s on, he sought to describe the principles underlying the perpetuation and change of class relations by the family and the school. In a series of five volumes, collectively titled Class, Codes and Control, he progressively developed his theory in dialogue with the work of his students. A theory of the code is central to this work. This entry discusses the development of code theory and Bernstein’s ideas about sociolinguistic and educational codes.

A code in common usage is a covert translation or regulation device linking features in two different contexts. “Cracking ...

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