Bernstein, Basil

Basil Bernstein (1924–2000) held the Karl Mannheim Chair Emeritus of Sociology of Education at the Institute of Education, University College London, and was one of the most eminent sociologists of his time. Over the course of four decades, his career contributed to significant advances in the areas of sociolinguistics, political economy, families and children, and schooling and education.

Bernstein’s early sociolinguistic work was highly controversial, positing social class differences in the communication codes of working-class and middle-class children, differences that related to class and power relations. On his account, the restricted codes of the former are context dependent and particularistic, while the elaborated codes of the latter are context independent and universalistic. This research raised crucial questions around how relationships among the social division of labor, ...

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