School subject borders and the maintenance of a hegemonic curriculum discourse in multidisciplinary curriculum making

Year: 2001

Author: Brooker, Ross

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The symbolic enshrinement of subjects in the secondary school curricula has been a very successful principle in the history of curriculum making (Goodson, 1992). Goodson argues that the subject "is a perfect device for conservation and stability and stands to effectively frustrate any more holistic initiatives... New initiatives in curriculum-making have to be scrutinised at this level of symbolic action." Drawing on the analysis of interview and observational data collected from a twelve-month case study of the implementation of a "more holistic" multidisciplinary curriculum at a school site, this paper analyses the ways in which subject borders influenced the curriculum making discourse. Insights about the borders and implications for crossing them become the focus for reporting professional practice research in this paper.