Education, Class and Culture

The Birmingham ethnographic tradition and the problem of the new middle class

Ian Watson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ethnographies of youth culture and schooling Produced by the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies and its followers had a major impact on educational sociology during the late 1970s and 1980s. Despite this invaluable contribution, important theoretical and methodological problems emerged in their treatment of class and culture. In particular, the untheorised presence of the ‘new middle class’and a confusing notion of 'dominant culture’ weakened the coherence of their analyses. This article traces these problems from the early studies of youth culture through to more recent school ethnographies. It concludes by stressing the relevance of critical concepts like class and culture within contemporary debates emerging from the 'new’ educational settlement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-197
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1993

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