The publication in French of Basil Bernstein’s last book, Pédagogie, contrôle symbolique et identité (2007; originally titled Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity), the final magnum opus of a life devoted to sociological research, provided the initial impetus for an international colloquium held in Lyon, France, from 31 May to 2 June 2007 titled “Social issues, knowledge, language and pedagogy: The current relevance and usefulness of Basil Bernstein’s sociological work”. This conference would not have been possible without the support of several institutions and researchers to whom we wish once again to reiterate our gratitude. The purpose of the event was to provide a forum for a range of theoretical views and debates surrounding and extending Bernstein’s work rather than merely an occasion for an exegetic memorial. Contributions by researchers from different parts of the globe, including South Africa, Britain, Australia, Belgium, France and Portugal, illuminated the current nature of issues of pedagogical transmission of skills and knowledge not merely in schools but in a wide range of human institutions and relations. In reading Bernstein it is clear that transmission of knowledge and skills is not only of relevance to democracy in general but to the rights of individuals to gain critical understanding, active participation and new opportunities. The challenge he raised was how humans can “live together” in our so-called “knowledge” societies, in which symbolic control and social production and reproduction are synonymous with power and control. This volume, bringing together papers delivered at the Lyon conference, is designed to consider the gaps and paradoxes that hinder the circulation and sharing of knowledge at an international level, especially between researchers in French-and English-speaking worlds. The gaps are not merely ones of translation and availability. While the circulation and globalized sharing of knowledge appear to be valued and promoted, important areas of sociological research have been insufficiently shared and discussed. Like all social science, sociology has been built on the basis of interwoven, interdependent, international dialogue. However, sociological inquiry into

what is (or is not) translated or, though published or translated, remains insufficiently read, discussed, used or integrated into legitimate bodies of sociological knowledge and research, remains nonetheless deeply instructive. We are driven by the recognition of a number of academic dead-ends and scholarly oddities that have often prevented more widespread circulation and sharing prerequisite to its understanding and appreciation. For various reasons (see the chapters in this volume by Brian Davies and Roger Establet), Bernstein’s work has not been given the same reception in every country and period. Leaving aside various ideological and political misunderstandings, as well as numerous over-simplifications and misuses of his theory of linguistic codes, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the English-speaking academic world has yet failed to take stock of the significance of Bernstein’s work. Likewise it appears that it remains relatively unfamiliar in the French sociological field, which continues to shun Bernstein’s considerable contributions or, at best, to refer to works1 from the 1960s and early 1970s which Bernstein significantly revised. Meanwhile, publication in English of contemporary French research has proved to be highly pertinent. The golden era of “French theory”, established largely as a result of the work by Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault, contributed to the critical culture of the 1960s and 1970s. Bernstein’s encounter added to this productivity; his life-long debate with the work of Pierre Bourdieu is discussed in this volume, as is the line of descent of his inquiries from Durkheim. Engagement with international and particularly French sociology was to be a permanent feature of Bernstein’s research outlook. Reading French texts in the original was never an easy task for him, though it did prove to be both possible and productive: consider his concern to remain closely aware of the products of what he sometimes referred to – somewhat testily – as “the Parisian versions of the sociology of reproduction” (Bernstein 2000, p. 5). It is not merely that Bernstein read all of Bourdieu’s work, as well as that of Foucault, Althusser and others, he also developed an intense interest in the work of his collaborators, followers and dissidents and fed selectively from them. Yet in France Bernstein’s work paradoxically remained for many years an object of derision and caricature largely as a result of misunderstanding of Class, Codes and Control, volume 1 (1971). Sociological research and its relevance to education, conducted in both French and English, continued to develop, in Maton’s terms, somewhat segmentally. For such reasons we are particularly grateful to Routledge and our anglophone colleagues who initiated and contributed to this volume and reopened the debate. This volume, hopefully, partially remedies some of the gaps noted above. Comprehensively collecting and presenting French research initiated by the “theories of reproduction” to an English-speaking readership is a task that still remains. Here we present exchanges between researchers who do not necessarily share the same language and often have only very limited knowledge of each other’s work but who appear increasingly to be address-

ing common concerns in Bernstein’s language, using his wide range of theoretical tools. These exchanges have been made possible because of the vitality and relevance of the set of questions and problems articulated in Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity.