oa Journal of Education - Pedagogic hierarchies: Plato and Bernstein

Volume 34, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-479X



This paper compares the pedagogic hierarchies of Plato and Bernstein and develops a basic theory of pedagogic hierarchy that both could reasonably be seen as ascribing to. It begins with a brief descriptionption of two images that convey Plato�s understanding of pedagogic hierarchy: the ladder of beauty and the cave metaphor. This is then juxtaposed to Bernstein�s pedagogic device, his use of classification and frame, and his theory of horizontal and vertical discourse. Finally, the respective shift upwards of both Plato and Bernstein into the most sacred areas of the unthought is tracked and it is concluded that both Plato and Bernstein can be seen as travellers between the two worlds of materiality and immateriality, although Bernstein provided clearer means to chart the power and control relationships this terrain is always embedded within. Yet in the last instance Plato�s great work falls over Bernstein in its ability to self-sufficiently perform what Bernstein can only theorize and research.

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