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Exploring the construction of social class in educational discourse: the rational order of the nation state vs. global uncertainties

Rassool, N. (2004) Exploring the construction of social class in educational discourse: the rational order of the nation state vs. global uncertainties. Pedagogy Culture and Society, 12 (1). pp. 121-139. ISSN 1747-5104

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/14681360400200192


This article aims to create intellectual space in which issues of social inequality and education can be analyzed and discussed in relation to the multifaceted and multi-levelled complexities of the modern world. It is divided into three sections. Section One locates the concept of social class in the context of the modern nation state during the period after the Second World War. Focusing particularly on the impact of ‘Fordism’ on social organization and cultural relations, it revisits the articulation of social justice issues in the United Kingdom, and the structures put into place at the time to alleviate educational and social inequalities. Section Two problematizes the traditional concept of social class in relation to economic, technological and sociocultural changes that have taken place around the world since the mid-1980s. In particular, it charts some of the changes to the international labour market and global patterns of consumption, and their collective impact on the re-constitution of class boundaries in ‘developed countries’. This is juxtaposed with some of the major social effects of neo-classical economic policies in recent years on the sociocultural base in developing countries. It discusses some of the ways these inequalities are reflected in education. Section Three explores tensions between the educational ideals of the ‘knowledge economy’ and the discursive range of social inequalities that are emerging within and beyond the nation state. Drawing on key motifs identified throughout, the article concludes with a reassessment of the concept of social class within the global cultural economy. This is discussed in relation to some of the major equity and human rights issues in education today.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Language and Literacy in Education
ID Code:26654
Publisher:Taylor and Francis

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