Culture as Education:
possibilities and consequences


Hervé Varenne

Teachers College, Columbia University


Introduction for anthropologists

Introduction for educators

  1. The problem
    1. reproduction
      1. personal: enculturation and learning (Sapir & Whorf)
      2. social (class andother categorical identifications deriving from the division of labor)
    2. culturation (historical transformation of self/local conditions for future action)
      1. personal (Dewey)
      2. local (culture of the family, school)
      3. at the level of the group (America)
      4. global (human evolution)
    3. scope and units of analysis (Cremin)

  3. So far (review of literature)
    1. The first generations
      1. Mead, Henry, Spindler, Whiting: learning as becoming
      2. Lynd, Hollinsghead, Parsons, Lacey: the school as social system
      3. ethnographic research and pedagogy: the uses of anthropology for the reform of American schools ()
    2. culture: from poverty to difference
      1. Oscar Lewis and Moynihan; Colemand and Jencks
      2. Bernstein & Hymes: sociolinguistics and competent performance
      3. Gumperz to Heath
    3. reproduction: attitudes and resistance
      1. Ogbu and attitudes
      2. Bourdieu and habits
      3. Willis, Giroux and resistance
    4. Historically constituted consequences:
      1. Apple?
      2. McDermott & Varenne ()
    5. the paradoxes of learning and teaching
      1. comparative education: pedagogy, curriculum and state policies
      2. Vigoksky, Cole, Lave
      3. Ochs & Schieffeling on teaching how to speak

  5. Issues: recapturing culture
    1. at the level of the polity (Varenne & McDermott)
    2. locally
      1. neighborhood (not ethnicity exactly)
      2. institutions (school, family)
    3. interactionally
    4. politically: strategy and bricolage
    5. the distribution of learning

  7. Prospects: towards a theory of ignorance (action in radical uncertainty)


January 7, 2007 [2000, 2002]