Chapter 3 in R. Wodak, B. Johnstone, P. Kerswill, (eds.), The SAGE handbook of sociolinguistics, pp 40-56
While accepting that the concept of restricted code has a troubled history that resulted in Bernstein being associated with deficit models of working-class life, it is argued that the concept
should be re-imagined rather than abandoned. Bernstein’s early work refers to restricted code as a form of condensed shorthand established through familiarity that was not per se tied to class.
Bernstein regarded social class as an independent variable in the research designs, and that coding only what could be explicitly spoken produced working-class groups as inferior in comparison
to middle-class groups: Bernstein’s disquiet can be sensed in many places across his work where he explicitly renounced a deficit model. Methodological and theoretical work on embodied
knowledge is used here to explicate the more-than, codeable features of restricted codes. An illustration from studies in ex-coalmining, working-class communities is used to explore what is
missed in conventional approaches to data coding. Other studies in ex-mining communities reveal the intergenerational transmission of rich resources that were vital for community survival. Reimagining restricted codes as relational assemblages recognises the value of the dynamic, creative and intergenerational features of localised, embodied knowledge.