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Choice of Directives in Spontaneous Family Interaction

  • Erica Huls

Abstract

In discussions about the factors that might influence social inequality in school and society, it is suggested that a central role is played by the formulations through which behavior is regulated in families of different socio-economic background. In the late sixties and the early seventies, the British educational sociologist Basil Bernstein devoted a lot of his theoretical writings to this idea. His contribution to the discussion however has been rather fruitless. A lack of clarity in his writings and the unelaborated character of his ideas in the first phase were, among other things, important factors that gave rise to a polemic discussion (the difference-deficit controversy, involving e.g. Labov (1972a), Dittmar (1976), Bereiter and Engelmann (1967) and Bernstein (1973), which was hindered by mutual misunderstandings. On this point I won’t go into finer details, nor try to say the final word. The only thing that really matters is the problem which Bernstein raised. His ‘theory’ focusses on differences in the ‘communicative capacities’ of children, which he tried to explain in terms of a total theory of social structure. The value of this part of his work is acknowledged by others, e.g. as early as 1972 by Hymes (1972a), and in the eighties by Hudson (1980). It is a pity that this central idea has until now elicited so little empirical research. The question which immediately comes to mind, then, is: why hasn’t there been more research on this topic?

Keywords

Major Type Social Inequality Propositional Content Question Directive Communicative Competence 
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.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erica Huls
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social Psychology KUNNijmegenThe Netherlands

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