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Vertical and Horizontal Discourse: An Essay

Basil Bernstein
British Journal of Sociology of Education
Vol. 20, No. 2 (Jun., 1999), pp. 157-173
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1393106
Page Count: 17
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Vertical and Horizontal Discourse: An Essay
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Abstract

The analysis in this paper has its origins in a critical account of the sociology of education (Bernstein, 1975) where the various approaches to the study of sociology were taken as the distinguishing feature of the discourse. This matter was further developed (Bernstein, 1996), with the distinction between vertical and horizontal discourses and their various modalities introduced in the context of differentiating this mode of analysis from more 'Bourdieuan' perspectives. This present paper is concerned with filling out and extending the sketches adumbrated in earlier work in a more accessible form. The model proposed generates a language which relates the internal structure of specialised knowledges, the positional nature of their fields or arenas of practice, identity constructions and their change, and the forms of acquisition for successful performances.

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