The social construction of pupils’ cultural worlds: negotiating viable selves from the margin

Edwards, Simon Leslie (2013) The social construction of pupils’ cultural worlds: negotiating viable selves from the margin. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

PDF - Published Version
Download (2MB) | Preview


This thesis examines the cultural world of students and how they negotiate viable selves at the margins of education exclusion. Bridgeworth Youth Wing (BYW), a part of Bridgeworth Community College (BCC) school site for an ethnographical study focused on students’ linguistic repertoires and language codes embedded within their social practices. Critical engagement with these processes led to the development of a pedagogic approach based on a model of knowledge production rooted in social practice rather than individual cognitive performance.

The introduction locates the research in a wider policy context and discusses the rise of performance management, the use of pupil assessment data and the development of
alternative curricula.

Chapter one presents the research context, research population, issues identified and the initial outline of an intervention. In chapter two I explore a methodological approach. I draw on Freire and a concept of liberation education in order to develop a research strategy, which enables me to answer initial research questions. The initial
research phase uses a developing methodological approach in order to explore the wider social practices of the students. Data from this initial phase of research provides an evaluative framework from which further research can be conducted.

Chapter three presents and analyses data on language and practice collected in the initial research phase. A framework for analysis draws on Bernstein’s (1971) theoretical model of codes. Chapter four explores the correlation between discourse and the students’ developing conceptual understanding. Key questions informing selfproduction are identified. The social structure of language and the linguistic structure of dialogue is examined.

Chapter five considers the emerging theoretical framework and explores the role of language and its use within the context of self-production. A conflict between the prevailing school models of self and that of the students is identified and outlined.

Chapter six explores the assumption that the real is not solely confined within organisational discourse. The linguistic dimensions of multiple discourses and associated practices are explored both within school and social sites outside. Chapter seven presents and analyses themes emerging from two further interventions. This illuminates the significance of staff and family as actors within the students’ discursive narratives. Further existential questions guiding the production of the self within those
conditions, are considered.

In conclusion chapter eight identifies claims to new knowledge emerging from the thesis. I assert that knowledge and its use in terms of sustaining self-identity is
conceptualised within reflexive discourse emerging from relationships with significant other actors, who may or may not be located physically within BCC or BYW sites. I
argue that language and linguistic codes engaged by the students are not located in the production of GCSEs but rather in the production of the self. Therefore knowledge
is reflexively produced and mutually understood through the students maintaining multiple discourses.

I also identify a confluence point between the students’ social alignments and the organisational alignments at BCC. I then discuss how an alternative curricula model I
currently manage might develop in order to meet the needs of the students in the light of the emerging theoretical framework.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0065 Social aspects of education
L Education > LF Individual institutions (Europe) > LF0014 England
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2013 07:47
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 14:43

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update