Revisiting the role of pedagogic contexts in social class analysis: A Bernsteinian approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper revisits the development of Basil Bernstein's theoretical armories and reinvigorates its relevance to social class analysis in education, while identifying some of the challenges and promises in doing so. The main arguments are grounded in an empirical analysis of the recent Liberal Studies reform in Hong Kong's senior secondary education. An extended discussion of using a Bernsteinian approach to pedagogy-specific class explanations is developed: (a) transition of code modalities between stages of education; (b) differentiated pedagogic identities in the middle class; (c) pedagogic grammars of specialized habituses; and (d) possibilities for an interruption in the process of social reproduction. It is concluded that continuing to build on Bernstein's legacy will allow us to achieve a more nuanced understanding of the ways that class works through different pedagogic contexts in order for the conception of an interruption of class reproduction to be useful in guiding transformative practices in it. Copyright © 2018 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-149
JournalInternational Review of Sociology
Issue number1
Early online date12 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


social class
study reform
secondary education
middle class
Hong Kong


Lee, T. T.-L. (2018). Revisiting the role of pedagogic contexts in social class analysis: A Bernsteinian approach. International Review of Sociology, 28(1), 133-149. doi: 10.1080/03906701.2017.1411310


  • Bernstein
  • Class analysis
  • Pedagogic context
  • Liberal studies
  • Hong Kong