Culture and the Production of School Inequality

  • Frederick EricksonEmail author
Living reference work entry


In a first section the article discusses the emergence of “culture” as a social scientific notion, including discussion of the affordances in and limitations of the classic view of culture in social science. The section continues by reviewing new conceptions of culture as well as the development of deficit views of culture by which differing cultural practices are compared invidiously. A next section provides narrative examples of culture in schools, as it manifests in the routine conduct of classroom instruction. The examples show how cultural difference can become grounds for the production of inequality and “othering” in schools. A final section reviews alternatives to conventional school practices – approaches to “culturally responsive” and “culturally sustaining” pedagogy. Particular emphasis is placed on “co-membership” – the identification of commonalities among teachers and students – as a means of preventing “othering” across lines of culture difference.


Culture New conceptions of culture Invisible culture Cultural deprivation “Othering” Culturally responsive pedagogy Culturally sustaining pedagogy Co-membership 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.G. F. Kneller Professor of Anthropology and Education, EmeritusUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • John M. Heffron
    • 1
  1. 1.The Graduate SchoolSoka University of AmericaAliso ViejoUSA

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