The text and cultural politics

Abstract (in English): 

The school curriculum is not neutral knowledge. Rather, what counts as legitimate knowledge is the result of complex power relations, struggles, and compromises among identifiable class, race, gender, and religious groups. A good deal of conceptual and empirical progress has been made in the last 2 decades in answering the question of whose knowledge becomes socially legitimate in schools. Yet, little attention has actually been paid to that one arti-fact that plays such a major role in defining whose culture is taught–the textbook. In this article, I discuss ways of approaching texts as embodiments of a larger process of cultural politics. Analyses of them must focus on the complex power relationships involved in their production, contexts, use, and reading. I caution us against employing overly reductive kinds of perspectives and point to the importance of newer forms of textual analysis that stress the politics of how students actually create meanings around texts. Finally, I point to some of the implications of all this for our discussions of curriculum policy.

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Daniel Johannes...