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Deviance as Pedagogy: From Nondominant Cultural Capital to Deviantly Marked Cultural Repertoires


by Ezekiel J. Dixon-Román — 2014

Background/Context: Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of cultural capital has been employed extensively in sociological, educational, and anthropological research. However, Bourdieu’s conceptualization of cultural capital has often been misread to refer only to “high status” or dominant cultural norms and resources at the cost of overlooking the meaningful and productive practices of nondominant and marginalized cultural communities.

Focus of Study: By reconceptualizing Cohen’s politics of deviance, this paper leans on post-structuralist thinkers to develop a conceptualization of the cultural repertoires of marginalized communities, hereafter referred to as deviantly marked cultural repertoires, that places at the center labeled practices of deviance. It is posited that in these labeled deviant cultural practices—which are often overlooked, shunned, and ignored—are valuable and meaningful experiences of learning and development.

Research Design: Using scenes from the HBO series The Wire as a cultural text, a materialist analysis is conducted to demonstrate empirically the pedagogically rich processes of deviantly marked cultural repertoires.

Conclusions: This paper argues for a research agenda on the learning and development present in the often overlooked, shunned, ignored, and marked/labeled practices of deviance as a way to explore the transformative pedagogical possibilities in marginalized youth cultures.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 116 Number 8, 2014, p. 1-30
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17502, Date Accessed: 12/16/2017 5:43:34 PM

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About the Author
  • Ezekiel Dixon-Román
    University of Pennsylvania
    E-mail Author
    EZEKIEL J. DIXON-ROMÁN is an assistant professor of Social Policy and Education in the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. His research is on the intersections of the sociology of education, cultural studies, and quantitative methods. In addition to his edited volume, Thinking Comprehensively about Education (with Edmund W. Gordon, Routledge, 2012), he is writing a single-authored volume tentatively titled Inheriting [Im]Possibility.
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