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Kingdom of Adventistan

Ted Wilson

Gregory Matthews

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The British Sociologist, Basil Bernstein (1924-2000) has proposed that people often communicate in two different ways.  Bernstein identifies one group as communicating in what the call Restricted Code.  He suggests that this group is typically a socially constrained close group of people.   In this group, there is a goal of uniform consensus.  Questioning is not encouraged.  The roles that people have in society are basic and carefully defined. He also identified specific patterns of speech and choice of vocabulary.  Authority was often expressed as the idea that something was correct simply because an authoritative figure has said it was so.  He identified his second group as using what he called Elaborated Code.  This manner of communication allowed for larger differences of opinion. The goal was to encourage thinking broadly, and questions were welcomed from people who lacked basic information.  Speech is often complex, indefinite and abstract.

In my review of Annual Council, I was reminded of Bernstein’s thesis.  It should be noted that I have focused on a part of his overall thesis and in some ways I have modified it.  In addition, in my understanding of Bernstein, I am indebted to the work of Dr. John McWhorter of Columbia University.

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