The contributions of Bernstein's sociology to education development research

Arathi Sriprakash*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Global and national agendas to improve the 'quality' of Education For All have brought focus to pedagogic processes in developing country contexts. How can development research pay attention to the social and political significance of pedagogical projects and understand the microprocesses of classroom reform? This paper considers how Basil Bernstein's sociological theories helped develop a nuanced account of pedagogic reform in a study of Indian primary education. I explore how the analysis encouraged by Bernstein's concepts of recontextualisation and educational codes may contribute to current thinking on the role and significance of pedagogy in development research and evaluation activities. The paper also raises caution about the selectiveness and limits of efforts to capture, identify, measure or assess pedagogic processes and change. A Bernsteinian research approach is not immune from producing the kinds of reductionist accounts of pedagogy of which the analysis is wary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-539
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2011


  • Basil Bernstein
  • Education For All
  • India
  • Pedagogy


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