Rethinking the representation problem in curriculum inquiry

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The consolidation of Reconceptualism as a distinctive tradition in curriculum inquiry is commonly understood to go hand-in-hand with the decline and even eclipse of an explicit political orientation in such work. This paper offers an alternative argument, focusing on a re-assessment of what has been called the representation problem and exploring this with reference to the 'modernism-postmodernism' debate. Discussion is addressed to knowledge, representation and praxis. A case is made for understanding representation in terms of both semiotics and politics, drawing on postmodern political theory and philosophy. This means among other things revisiting the so-called reproduction thesis, as in effect 'unfinished business', and seeking to rethink the relationship between reproduction and representation as organising categories in and for curriculum and social analysis. The paper thus brings together curriculum history and curriculum theory, as well as an Australian perspective to an important and enduring focus for discussion and debate in the contemporary curriculum field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-469
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Curriculum Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

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