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Download Learning To Labour as a PDF File: A Guide to Reading the Landmark Work in Sociology and Education


Learning To Labour: A Classic Book by Paul Willis




Have you ever wondered why some students succeed in school while others fail? Have you ever questioned the role of education in reproducing or challenging social inequalities? Have you ever been curious about how working-class youth develop their own culture and identity in opposition to the dominant values and expectations of society?




Learning To Labour Paul Willis Pdf Download



If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should definitely read Learning To Labour, a classic book by Paul Willis. Published in 1977, this book is widely regarded as one of the most influential and groundbreaking works in sociology and education. It offers a rich and nuanced analysis of how working-class boys in a British school resist and reject the official curriculum and prepare themselves for manual labour. It also challenges some of the common assumptions and myths about education, class, culture, and agency.


In this article, we will explore the main themes and arguments of Learning To Labour, its impact and influence on academic and public debates, and how you can download it as a PDF file for your convenience. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of why Learning To Labour is a must-read book for everyone who is interested in sociology, education, or social justice.


The Main Themes and Arguments of Learning To Labour




The concept of cultural reproduction and resistance




One of the key contributions of Learning To Labour is its introduction of the concept of cultural reproduction. This concept refers to how dominant groups in society maintain their power and privilege by transmitting their values, norms, beliefs, and practices to subordinate groups through various institutions, such as education, media, religion, etc. In other words, cultural reproduction is how social inequalities are reproduced across generations through culture.


However, Paul Willis also argues that cultural reproduction is not a one-way process. Rather, subordinate groups can also resist and challenge the dominant culture by creating their own counter-cultures that express their alternative views, interests, desires, and identities. In this sense, cultural reproduction is also a site of struggle and contestation between different groups in society.


The ethnographic study of working-class boys in a British school




To illustrate his concept of cultural reproduction and resistance, Paul Willis conducted an ethnographic study of working-class boys in a British school in the early 1970s. He spent 18 months observing and interviewing 12 boys who called themselves "the lads". These boys were part of a larger group of students who were tracked into low-ability classes and destined for manual labour after leaving school at age 16.


Willis found that the lads developed their own distinctive culture that was based on values such as toughness, masculinity, spontaneity, humour, and contempt for authority. They also engaged in various forms of resistance against the school system, such as skipping classes, disrupting lessons, cheating on exams, and mocking teachers and other students. They saw school as a waste of time and a place where they were oppressed and alienated. They preferred to learn from their own experiences and from their peers rather than from the official curriculum. They also looked forward to leaving school and entering the world of work, where they believed they would have more freedom, dignity, and respect.


The critique of the hidden curriculum and the meritocratic ideology




Another important contribution of Learning To Labour is its critique of the hidden curriculum and the meritocratic ideology. The hidden curriculum refers to the implicit messages and lessons that are taught in schools, such as obedience, conformity, discipline, competition, etc. The meritocratic ideology refers to the belief that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed in society based on their individual abilities and efforts.


Willis argues that both the hidden curriculum and the meritocratic ideology serve to justify and legitimize the existing social order and to mask the structural causes of social inequalities. He shows how the school system reproduces class divisions by sorting students into different tracks and streams based on their academic performance and behaviour. He also shows how the school system fails to provide working-class students with the skills, knowledge, and credentials that are valued and rewarded in the labour market. He also shows how the school system discourages working-class students from aspiring to higher education or professional careers by making them feel inferior, inadequate, and out of place.


Willis also argues that the lads' resistance to the school system is not a form of emancipation or empowerment, but rather a form of self-defeating adaptation. He claims that by rejecting school and embracing manual labour, the lads are unwittingly reproducing their own class position and contributing to their own exploitation. He suggests that the lads' culture is not a genuine expression of their own interests and desires, but rather a product of their internalization of the dominant ideology that devalues their intelligence, creativity, and potential. He concludes that the lads' resistance is not a challenge to cultural reproduction, but rather a part of it.


The Impact and Influence of Learning To Labour




The reception and criticism of the book in sociology and education




Learning To Labour has been widely acclaimed as a landmark work in sociology and education. It has been praised for its innovative methodology, its rich empirical data, its original theoretical framework, its critical perspective, and its engaging style. It has inspired countless researchers to conduct similar ethnographic studies of youth cultures, subcultures, and counter-cultures in various contexts and settings. It has also sparked lively debates and discussions among scholars and practitioners about the role of education in society, the nature of class relations, the dynamics of culture and power, and the possibilities of social change.


However, Learning To Labour has also been subject to various criticisms and limitations. Some critics have questioned the validity and reliability of Willis' data collection and analysis, pointing out that he relied on a small and unrepresentative sample of boys who may have exaggerated or distorted their accounts. Some critics have also challenged Willis' interpretation and explanation of his findings, arguing that he overgeneralized his conclusions from a specific historical and cultural context. Some critics have also suggested that Willis ignored or overlooked other factors that may have influenced the lads' attitudes and behaviours, such as gender, race, ethnicity, religion, family background, peer pressure, etc.


The relevance and applicability of the book in contemporary contexts




Despite its age and flaws, Learning To Labour remains relevant and applicable in contemporary contexts. It offers valuable insights into how working-class youth cope with and respond to the challenges and opportunities of globalization, neoliberalism, digitalization, migration, etc. It also raises important questions about how education can address or exacerbate social inequalities in an increasingly diverse and complex society. It also provides useful tools for understanding and engaging with youth cultures that are often misunderstood or marginalized by mainstream institutions.


However, Learning To Labour also needs to be updated and adapted to reflect the changes and developments that have occurred since its publication. It needs to acknowledge and incorporate new perspectives and voices that have emerged from feminist, postcolonial, queer, critical race, disability studies etc. It needs to recognize and explore new forms and modes of cultural reproduction and resistance that have emerged from digital media, social movements, alternative education etc. It needs to rethink and revise its assumptions and implications in light of new evidence and experiences that challenge or confirm its arguments and claims.


The legacy # FAQs (continued)


  • How can I download Learning To Labour as a PDF file?



  • What are some tips and tricks for reading and enjoying Learning To Labour?



# Answers


  • Learning To Labour is a classic book by Paul Willis that analyzes how working-class boys in a British school resist and reject the official curriculum and prepare themselves for manual labour. It also challenges some of the common assumptions and myths about education, class, culture, and agency.



The main themes and arguments of Learning To Labour are:


  • The concept of cultural reproduction and resistance, which refers to how dominant groups in society maintain their power and privilege by transmitting their values, norms, beliefs, and practices to subordinate groups through various institutions, such as education, media, religion, etc., and how subordinate groups can also resist and challenge the dominant culture by creating their own counter-cultures that express their alternative views, interests, desires, and identities.



  • The ethnographic study of working-class boys in a British school, which shows how the lads developed their own distinctive culture that was based on values such as toughness, masculinity, spontaneity, humour, and contempt for authority. It also shows how they engaged in various forms of resistance against the school system, such as skipping classes, disrupting lessons, cheating on exams, and mocking teachers and other students. It also shows how they saw school as a waste of time and a place where they were oppressed and alienated. It also shows how they looked forward to leaving school and entering the world of work, where they believed they would have more freedom, dignity, and respect.



  • The critique of the hidden curriculum and the meritocratic ideology, which refers to the implicit messages and lessons that are taught in schools, such as obedience, conformity, discipline, competition, etc., and the belief that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed in society based on their individual abilities and efforts. It shows how both the hidden curriculum and the meritocratic ideology serve to justify and legitimize the existing social order and to mask the structural causes of social inequalities. It also shows how the school system reproduces class divisions by sorting students into different tracks and streams based on their academic performance and behaviour. It also shows how the school system fails to provide working-class students with the skills, knowledge, and credentials that are valued and rewarded in the labour market. It also shows how the school system discourages working-class students from aspiring to higher education or professional careers by making them feel inferior, inadequate, and out of place.



  • The paradox of cultural reproduction and resistance, which refers to how the lads' resistance to the school system is not a form of emancipation or empowerment, but rather a form of self-defeating adaptation. It shows how by rejecting school and embracing manual labour, the lads are unwittingly reproducing their own class position and contributing to their own exploitation. It also shows how the lads' culture is not a genuine expression of their own interests and desires, but rather a product of their internalization of the dominant ideology that devalues their intelligence, creativity, and potential. It concludes that the lads' resistance is not a challenge to cultural reproduction, but rather a part of it.