The Precarious Nature of Social Class-Sensitivity in Literacy: A Social, Autobiographic, and Pedagogical Project

Mark D. Vagle, Stephanie Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Using Maurice Merleau-Ponty's (1947/1964) phenomenological notion of the threads of intentionality that tie subject and object together meaningfully and Pierre Bourdieu's (1986, 2000; Bourdieu & Waquant, 1992) reflexive sociology and constructs of habitus, field, capital, and nomos, we theorize social class-sensitivity in literacy education as a social, autobiographic, and pedagogical project; a recognition of the powerful unnamed context of middle-class normality; and an illumination of the precarious ways in which working-class and poor students are positioned in schools. We assume that although issues related to race, gender, and sexuality intersect in complex ways with class, social class issues in classroom pedagogy are too often ignored and undertheorized. Therefore, there is a need to spend concerted time considering social class specifically. We close by asking pedagogues to think seriously about the reality that working-class and poor students enter classrooms each day saturated in precariousness; to not label students and families as the problem; and to be the ones to take responsibility for alleviating the precarious positions in which working-class and poor students and families live while in educational institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-339
Number of pages22
JournalCurriculum Inquiry
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

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