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    Re-imaging Bernstein's restricted codes

    Ivinson, Gabrielle (2018) Re-imaging Bernstein's restricted codes. European Educational Research Journal, 17 (4). pp. 539-554. ISSN 1474-9041

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    While accepting that the concept of restricted code has a troubled history that resulted in Bernstein being associated with deficit models of working-class life, it is argued that the concept should be re-imagined rather than abandoned. Bernstein’s early work refers to restricted code as a form of condensed, shorthand established through familiarity that was not tied to class per se. In Volume 2 of Class, Codes and Control social class was an independent variable in the research designs and coding only that which could be explicitly spoken, produced working class groups as inferior in comparison to middle class groups: Bernstein’s disquiet can be sensed in many places across his work where he explicitly renounced a deficit model. Methodological and theoretical work on embodied knowledge is used here to explicate the more-than, codeable features of restricted codes. An illustration from studies in ex-coalmining, working-class communities is used to explore what is missed in conventional approaches to data coding. Other studies in ex-mining communities reveal the intergenerational transmission of rich resources that were vital for community survival. Re-imagining restricted codes as relational assemblages recognises the value of the dynamic, creative and intergenerational features of localised, embodied knowledge.

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