1st Edition

Emerging Perspectives from Social Realism on Knowledge and Education Curricula, Pedagogy, Identity, and Equity

Edited By Graham McPhail, Richard Pountney, Leesa Wheelahan Copyright 2025
    248 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book brings the key ideas and concepts of social realism to bear on current debates in the fields of knowledge and curriculum.

    The key concern of this collection is to highlight matters related to knowledge and the influence these dimensions have on the formation of curricula, pedagogy, identity, and equity in educational contexts. Presenting new perspectives on the place of various types and forms of knowledge in contemporary education, this book explores two central questions, ‘what type of knowledge is most important to include in a curriculum?’ and ‘what is meant by disciplinary knowledge?’. The chapters use empirical examples to illustrate how the issues play out on a global stage, interweaving the social justice concern of equitable access to disciplinary knowledge throughout. In particular, the authors address the emerging theorisation of issues related to the decolonisation of curricula, the recontextualisation of ‘non-traditional’ knowledge into the curriculum, and to teacher education.

    Offering new philosophical and theoretical perspectives, this book will be of interest to researchers, scholars, and students examining the fields of knowledge and curriculum, and the sociology of education more broadly.

    PART 1: Theoretical Matters

    1. Introduction: Knowledge and the curriculum: new perspectives from social realism

    Graham McPhail, Richard Pountney, and Leesa Wheelahan

    2. Bernstein’s knowledge structures and the curriculum

    Johan Muller

    3. The curriculum as relation between knowledge of reality and the individual’s development: contributions from Antonio Gramsci and Lev Vygotsky

    Newton Duarte and Elaine Cristina Melo Duarte

    PART 2: Curriculum Contestations

    4. School music education beyond human development? Contributions from a social realist perspective

    Mauricio Braz de Carvalho and Cláudia Valentina A. Galian

    5. Decolonisation and the curriculum: Applying a social realist lens

    Barbara Ormond

    6. Knowledge travels: the recontextualisation of socio-cultural knowledge for the academy and the school.

    Graham McPhail

    7. Privatising Music Knowledge: Identifying the restrictions that specialise music education

    Mandy Carver

    PART 3: Knowledge and Teacher Education

    8. Logic in the Curriculum Design Coherence Model: How the Model creates coherence

    Elizabeth Rata

    9. Practice knowledge and teacher mentoring: a realist analysis of professional development and learning

    Richard Pountney and Michael Coldwell

    10. Why ‘liberating’ Education Studies from foundation disciplines cannot make it more coherent

    Yael Shalem and Stephanie Allais

    11. Exploring the challenges of recontextualisation in the development of teachers’ professional practice knowledge.

    Di Swift

    PART 4: Crossing Boundaries

    12. Interdisciplinary curriculum and equity

    Leesa Wheelahan and Gavin Moodie

    13. Crossing boundaries: Exploring the theory, practice and possibility of a ‘Future 3’ curriculum

    Richard Pountney and Graham McPhail


    Graham McPhail is an Associate Professor in the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education and Social Work, The University of Auckland, New Zealand.

    Richard Pountney is a Senior Lecturer in the Sheffield Institute for Education, Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom.

    Leesa Wheelahan is Professor Emerita, William G. Davis Chair in Community College Leadership, in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, Canada.