This paper illustrates how critical use of Basil Bernstein's theory illuminates the mechanisms by which university knowledge, curriculum and pedagogy both reproduce and interrupt social inequalities. To this end, empirical examples are selected from the findings of the ESRC-funded project 'Pedagogic Quality and Inequality in University First Degrees' (RES-062-23-1438, November 2008-January 2012). The project investigated sociology-related social science degrees in four social science departments in universities in different positions in influential UK higher education league tables. A Bernsteinian lens throws fresh light on how university education might contribute to a more egalitarian society.
- social science degrees
- university education