Bourdieu & Literacy Education

One of the points of education is to mask [through mystification & misrecogniton] the operation of selection by imposing discourses of meritocracy in a system in which one can not succeed without already mastering the tools of the system.  

Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977 cited in Heller p54 Chapter 4 in Albright & Luke (2010)

The trouble with this is that it reproduces and solidifies ‘the system’. It is an expression of humility for those already there but a declaration that you may as well not bother for those who aren’t. It suggest – in the presence of what only pretends to be a meritocracy – that you are welcome & able only if you are selected. Meanwhile you can only be selected if you are already ‘one of us’. Even though those who are ‘one of us’ are able to occupy that space with humility and be there on the basis of a heritage that we did not choose but benefit from. And so – this makes me want to explore – women and desire. A longing and / for belonging that keeps itself hidden. That does not risk being ‘put in its place’ but engages in another version of underground work – to find a way through that does not rely on ‘seletion’ or at least removes the possibility of ‘selection’ based on criteria that she is unable to control. 

I am of course filled in writing this with habitus, field, capital, distinction & symbolic violence. The key tools of Bourdieu. Interested and intrigued. But insisting on locating a space that acknowledges both agency and structure. That does not blame but equally does not ‘lock out’. 

Kramsch Chapter 3 in Albright & Luke (2010

In reading this – I gain an insight into this feeling of superiority. But not of how to dismantle it. Literacy as both liberator and social reproduction. Turns a paradox into a creative experience. Teach the genres of power – but also teach how to demystify those genres. Personal value is not limited to the grades they receive. This is the reflexive moment – play the game but critically reflect on the rules of the game.  Though to play he game requires a knowledge of the rules. The rules are known only by those ‘in the know’. Others can pretend to be ‘in the know’ but remain open to exposure. 

These are of course examples of what I study sediments in text of habitus and social practice. An eternal self-referencing & self-generating loop. 

Sympraxy* as opposed to sympathy. Realistic identification as opposed to idealistic projection.  

I can find no other reference for this word. 


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