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Wednesday, July 3 • 1:30pm - 2:10pm
Stretching LCT a bit: Towards the racial contract code theory

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This conceptual paper reports on emerging theoretical framework, the Racial Contract Code Theory (henceforth, R-C-C-T) (Sabata, forthcoming) which seeks to extend Karl Maton’s (2005, 2014) Legitimation Code Theory (henceforth, LCT) with Charles Mill’s (1997) the Racial Contract (henceforth, RC) in order to account for continuing reproduction of racialized education inequalities in the ‘post’ colonial South African field of Higher Education (henceforth, HE), so that changes can be effected to facilitate epistemic justice for all. It is my view that there is a causal relationship between colonial history of our education system and continuing racialized education opportunities and outcomes in this context. Unfortunately, this causality is mainly ignored in sociological analysis of our education system and thereby leading to theorizing about ‘process without system’ (Archer, 1997: xvi). Inherent in this knower blind spot is that analyst tend to homogenize the structure of educational systems and emphasize universal, instead of variable processes of change. The danger is that without understanding this system actors tend to reproduce, instead of transforming the system.
This paper starts off by flagging this theoretical lacuna through engagement with works of leading South African scholars around curriculum and transformation. I argue that resurgence of calls for decolonization of education in South Arica could be attributed to our failure in taking serious the relational network structure of our education system. I thereby present LCT as a useful explanatory toolkit necessary (even though not sufficient) if we are to engage with the decolonial agenda. LCT enables engagement with both ‘knowledge and knowers’ (Maton, 2014). Using LCT’s Autonomy dimension I demonstrate how LCT might enable our engagement with relations of power and demonstrate the centrality of this dimension in all our engagements with knowledge practices within the field of HE. I argue that unlike its major heritage sociological theories of education i.e. Bernstein and Bourdieu, LCT does not attempt to homogenize the structure of education systems (Archer, 1997) and therefore demands historical account of the relational structure of the education system. I therefore demonstrate through engagement with studies using LCT in our South African that we have not yet fully comprehended potential benefits presented by this explanatory toolkit for our peculiar socio-historical reality. To achieve full benefits presented by the LCT I propose that we stretch LCT a bit with the RC (Mills, 1997) to it give it purchase to the complexities of post-colonial university. In conclusion, I demonstrate how the newly developed theory (R-C-C-T) might extend and strengthen LCT grammar and facilitate decolonial agenda in the post-colonial universities in South Africa.


Wednesday July 3, 2019 1:30pm - 2:10pm SAST
Room B46

Attendees (7)