On the making and faking of knowledge value in higher education curricula

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14 Citations (SciVal)


This paper uses Bernstein's sociology of knowledge and studies of professional knowledge and expertise to identify how knowledge value is constituted in higher education curricula. It is argued that different knowledge structures and forms of disciplinary community influence how curricula are determined, and lead to distinctive types of knowledge value that reflect curriculum purpose. Three models of curriculum construction are presented to distinguish between the constitution of value in the curricula of (i) pure disciplines, (ii) ‘stronger’ professional disciplines and (iii) ‘weaker’ occupational disciplines. These illustrate how processes of knowledge selection and transformation, and the dynamics of disciplinary and professional communities, can lead to the strengthening or undermining of knowledge value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-380
Number of pages14
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number4
Early online date7 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2016


  • Bernstein
  • Curriculum
  • knowledge differentiation
  • recontextualisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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