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The empty child: the reproduction of culture through schooling

conference contribution
posted on 01.12.2011, 00:00 authored by Matthew ThomasMatthew Thomas
This research provides a needed glimpse at the ‘underside’ (Giroux, 1981) of Australian pedagogy.By charting the lives of six teachers and six students from a range of Victorian schools, the research examines our assumptions about how identities are produced and reproduced through schooling. It provides a detailed analysis through a combination of photo elicitation and narrative inquiry methods. The study examines the resistance to sameness and why some students and teachers submit and accept the sameness, while others push back.

Building initially from the work of Michael Apple and his positioning of ideology, curriculum and power relations, this study explores what are the values and assumptions that shape pedagogical practice and in what ways do these practices inculcate Victorian students into ideologically ridden
‘common sense’ practices that are not articulated but understood through the consumption of cultural capital?

This research seeks access to the powerful undercurrents that shape the identities of our teachers and our students as ‘foot soldiers in the long front of modernity’ (Willis, 2003, p. 390). The research is concerned with schooling and the process that happens to an individual within a school. It examines power and education and asks how do both students and teachers internalize and express the pedagogies of contemporary schooling and in what ways do the everyday aspects of teaching and learning reinforce the notion of schools as mechanisms of cultural capital distribution?



Australian Association for Research in Education. Annual Conference (2011 : Hobart, Tas.)


1 - 19


Australian Association for Research in Education


Hobart, Tas.

Place of publication

[Hobart, Tas.]

Start date


End date






Publication classification

E1.1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2011, The Authors


J Wright, Jan

Title of proceedings

AARE 2011: Researching Across Boundaries. Proceedings of the Australian Association for Research in Education Annual Conference