Culture, Class, and Curriculum: A Reflective Essay

  • Terry Wrigley
Part of the Marxism and Education book series (MAED)


Any attempt to review the use of the term culture in education is asking for trouble. Raymond Williams, in Keywords (1976: 87), claims that culture is “one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language.” As part of this complexity, it can refer to “high” art, to artistic practices more broadly including popular arts, and to the whole way of life of a people or period. Williams traces the history and multiplicity of denotation and connotation of the word culture not in order to arrive at a singular meaning, but to enable us to hold in tension these differences of meaning or emphasis. Terry Eagleton goes even further in this rejection of attempts to pin it down, referring to the concept culture both as “an historical and philosophical text” and as “the site of a political conflict” (2000: 19). Rather a lot for one word to carry.


School Improvement School Change Reflective Essay Communist Manifesto Subordinate Class 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alvesson, M. (2002) Understanding Organizational Culture (London: Sage).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Appadurai, A. (2004) The Capacity to Aspire: Culture and the Terms of Recognition. In V. Rao and M. Walton (eds.) Culture and Public Action (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press).Google Scholar
  3. Ball, S. (2008) The Education Debate (Bristol: Policy Press).Google Scholar
  4. Barber, M. and Phillips, V. (2000) Fusion: How to Unleash Irreversible Change. Unpublished conference paper, DfEE Conference on Education Action Zones.Google Scholar
  5. Bartky, J. (1963) Social Issues in Public Education (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin).Google Scholar
  6. Bennett, N. (2001) Power, Structure and Culture: An Organizational View of School Effectiveness and School Improvement. In A. Harris and N. Bennett (eds.) School Effectiveness and School Improvement: Alternative Perspectives (London: Continuum).Google Scholar
  7. Bernstein, B. (1970) Class, Codes and Control, vol. 1: Theoretical Studies towards a Sociology of Language (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul).Google Scholar
  8. Bigelow, B. and B. Peterson. (2003) Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools).Google Scholar
  9. Bourdieu, P. (1984) Distinction (Cambridge, MA: Polity).Google Scholar
  10. Brecht, B. (1949) A Short Organum for the Theatre. In J. Willett (ed.) (1964) Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic (London: Methuen).Google Scholar
  11. Burns, J. (1978) Leadership (New York: Harper and Row).Google Scholar
  12. Charlesworth, S. (2000) A Phenomenology of Working Class Experience (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  13. Cooper, B. (1976) Bernstein’s Codes: A Classroom Study (Brighton: University of Sussex).Google Scholar
  14. Cummins, J. (2003) Challenging the Construction of Difference as Deficit: Where Are Identity, Intellect, Imagination, and Power in the New Regime of Truth? In P.P. Trifonas (ed.) Pedagogies of Difference: Rethinking Education for Social Change (London: Routledge Falmer)Google Scholar
  15. Daniels, H. (2005) An Introduction to Vygotsky (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  16. Deal, T. and K. Peterson (1999) Shaping School Culture (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass).Google Scholar
  17. Eagleton, T. (2000) The Idea of Culture (Oxford: Blackwell).Google Scholar
  18. Engels, F.(1890) Letter to J Bloch. [].
  19. Fullan, M. and A. Hargreaves. (1992) What’s Worth Fighting for in Your School (Buckingham: Open University Press).Google Scholar
  20. Goffman, E. (1961) Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates (Garden City, NY: Doubleday).Google Scholar
  21. Gonzalez, N., L. Moll and C. Amanti. (2005) Funds of Knowledge: Theorizing Practices in Households, Communities, and Classrooms (London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates).Google Scholar
  22. Gramsci, A. (1971) Selections from the Prison Notebooks (London: Lawrence and Wishart).Google Scholar
  23. Gunter H. (2001) Leaders and Leadership in Education (London: Chapman).Google Scholar
  24. Gutstein, E. and B. Peterson (2005) Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers (Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools).Google Scholar
  25. Hargreaves A. (1994) Changing Teachers, Changing Times (London: Cassell).Google Scholar
  26. Hatcher, R. (1998) Labour, Official School Improvement and Equality. Journal of Education Policy, 13(4): 485–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hoggart, R. (1957) The Uses of Literacy (London: Chatto and Windus).Google Scholar
  28. Jenkins, R. (2002) Pierre Bourdieu (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  29. Jones, K. (2003) Culture Reinvented as Management: English in the New Urban School. Changing English, 10(2): 143–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jones, K. (2009) Culture and Creative Learning: A Literature Review (London: Creativity, Culture and Education).Google Scholar
  31. Kane, L. (2001) Popular Education and Social Change in Latin America (London: Latin American Bureau).Google Scholar
  32. Kozulin, A. (2005) The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology: Vygotsky, His Disciples and Critics. In H. Daniels (ed.) An Introduction to Vygotsky (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  33. Labov, W. (1969) The Logic of Nonstandard English (Georgetown Monographs on Language and Linguistics, vol. 22).Google Scholar
  34. Lawton, D., P. Gordon and M. Ing (1978) Theory and Practice of Curriculum Studies (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  35. Leacock, E. (1971) The Culture of Poverty: A Critique (New York: Simon and Schuster).Google Scholar
  36. Levitas, R. (2004) Let’s Hear It for Humpty: Social Exclusion, the Third Way and Cultural Capital. Cultural Trends, 13(2): 41–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lewis, O. (1966) La Vida (New York: Random House).Google Scholar
  38. Luxemburg, R. (1915) The Junius Pamphlet: The Crisis of German Social Democracy. (
  39. Marx, K. and F. Engels (2005 [1848]) The Communist Manifesto (London: Bookmarks).Google Scholar
  40. McLaughlin, M. (1990) The Rand Change Agent Study Revisited: Macro Perspectives and Micro Realities. Educational Research 19(9): 11–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Midwinter, E. (1972) Priority Education (Harmondsworth: Penguin).Google Scholar
  42. Moll, L. and J. Greenberg (1990) Creating Zones of Possibilities: Combining Social Contexts for Instruction. In L. Moll (ed.) Vygotsky and Education: Instructional Implications and Applications of Sociohistorical Psychology (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Moynihan, D. (1965) The Negro Family: The Case for National Action (Washington: U.S. Department of Labor).Google Scholar
  44. MST [Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, Landless Workers Movement] (2005) Dossie MST Escola: Documentos e Estudos 1990–2001 (Sao Paulo: Expressao Popular).Google Scholar
  45. Murray, C. (1990) The Emerging British Underclass (London: IEA).Google Scholar
  46. Parker, M. (2000) Organisational Culture and Identity: Unity and Division at Work (London: Sage).Google Scholar
  47. Perkins, D. (1992) Smart Schools: Better Thinking and Learning for Every Child (New York: The Free Press).Google Scholar
  48. Peters, T. and R. Waterman (1982) In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best Run Companies (New York: Harper and Row).Google Scholar
  49. Rosen, H. (1972) Language and Class: A Critical Look at the Theories of Basil Bernstein (Bristol: Falling Wall Press).Google Scholar
  50. Rosen, M. (1982) In Their Own Voice. In Talk Workshop Group (1982) Becoming Our Own Experts, 378–91 (London: Vauxhall School).Google Scholar
  51. Salomon, G. (ed.) (1993) Distributed Cognition: Psychological and Educational Considerations (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  52. Savage, M. (2003) A New Class Paradigm? British Journal of Sociology of Education, 24(4): 535–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Stoll, L. and D. Fink (1996) Changing Our Schools: Linking School Effectiveness and School Improvement (Buckingham: Open University Press).Google Scholar
  54. Thomson, P. (2002) Schooling the Rustbelt Kids: Making the Difference in Changing Times (Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham).Google Scholar
  55. Tizard, B. and M. Hughes (1984) Children Learning at Home and in School (London: Fontana).Google Scholar
  56. Trotsky, L. (1960 [1923]) Literature and Revolution (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press).Google Scholar
  57. UK Parliament (2006) Education and Inspections Act (, accessed Oct 2010).
  58. Volosinov, V.N. (1973 [1929]) Marxism and the Philosophy of Language (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).Google Scholar
  59. Vygotsky, L.S. (1925) Consciousness as a Problem in the Psychology of Behaviour (
  60. Vygotsky, L. (1978) Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).Google Scholar
  61. Vygotsky, L. (1986) Thought and Language (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).Google Scholar
  62. Wartofsky, M. (1979) Models (Dordrecht: Reidel).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wertsch, J. (1990) The Voice of Rationality. In L. Moll (ed.) Vygotsky and Education: Instructional Implications and Applications of Sociohistorical Psychology (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  64. Wexler, P. (1982). Structure, Text and Subject: A Critical Sociology of School Knowledge. In M. Apple (ed.) Cultural and Economic Reproduction in Education, 275–303 (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul).Google Scholar
  65. Williams, R. (1958) Culture and Society 1780–1950 (London: Chatto and Windus).Google Scholar
  66. Williams, R. (1961) The Long Revolution (London: Chatto and Windus).Google Scholar
  67. Williams, R. (1976) Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (London: Fontana).Google Scholar
  68. Williams, R. (1980) Culture and Materialism (London: Verso). [The chapter ‘Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory’ was first published in New Left Review, 82, Nov–Dec 1973].Google Scholar
  69. Williams, R. (1984) The English Novel from Dickens to Lawrence (London: Hogarth).Google Scholar
  70. Williams, R. (1985) The Country and the City (London: Hogarth).Google Scholar
  71. Willis, P. (1977) Learning to Labour: How Working Class Kids get Working Class Jobs (London: Gower).Google Scholar
  72. Willis, P. (2003) Footsoldiers of Modernity: The Dialectics of Cultural Consumption and the Twenty-first Century School. Harvard Educational Review, 78(3): 390–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Wrigley, T. (2003) Schools of Hope: A New Agenda for School Improvement (Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham).Google Scholar
  74. Wrigley, T. (2008) School Improvement in a Neo-liberal World. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 40(2): 129–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Peter E. Jones 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terry Wrigley

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations