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Michael Apple

Reproduction, Contestation

& Curriculum

In Education and Power, the first chapter, "Reproduction, Contestation, and Curriculum," Dr. Apple sets the stage by alerting us to the economic crisis at hand and especially points out that whenever groups of people struggle over issues of gender, race, and class, the economy, as well as the entire social process is affected.

He stresses the salary gap between men and women and the fact that African Americans and Hispanics have a higher unemployment rate.

"What of other groups? The black and Hispanic populations of the United States have much higher rates of under-and unemployment than others, rates that will significantly increase in the near future."

The educational and cultural system is a variable that dictates the maintenance of the existing domination and exploitation in the social order. This critical theorist suggests that too much attention is given to schools when in essence the problem is part of a larger framework of social relations as it relates to cultural reproduction.

In another section of Chapter 1, "Reproduction, Contestation, and Curriculum," in Education and Power, the writer explains how "it has become increasingly obvious over this same time period that our educational institutions may serve less as the engines of democracy and equality than many of us would like."

One can examine schools to find out how they assist individuals to get ahead and what kinds of people actually get ahead in our attempt to alleviate some of the problems facing individual students and others. Social patterns and outcomes may inform us how the school functions in reproduction, a function that may well be hidden if our individual acts of helping remain our primary focus.

What do we mean when we look at how schools "function" to reproduce an unequal society? The term refers to a society's fundamental relations that enable society to reproduce itself again but only in the form a dominant and subordinate social order.


  Critical Theorists: Michael Apple Values & Politics Denunciation Reproduction, Contestation & Curriculum Power/Knowledge/Pedagogy  

    Learning in Schools Cultural Capital & Official Knowledge An Interview with Michael Apple Other Sites Online  
Updated: 11/24/99
Laurie Williams