Original Research

Problematizing the concept ‘epistemological access’: A review of literature

Lucinda du Plooy
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 4, No 1 | a51 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v4i1.51 | © 2014 Lucinda du Plooy | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 May 2014 | Published: 01 July 2014

About the author(s)

Lucinda du Plooy, University of the Western Cape - Faculty of Education

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This paper provides a review of literature which aims at problematizing the concept ‘epistemological access”, a fairly under-researched topic in South African education. Morrow’s distinction between formal access (institutional access) and epistemological access (access to the goods distributed by the institution) is used as a conceptual framework. We argue that the meaning of the concept ‘epistemological access’ as Morrow intended was borne out of a particular political need that arose in higher education; the need to democratize access to higher education. The dearth of literature on the concept “epistemological access” and its meaning for access to basic education, especially foundation phase schooling, therefore warranted this literature review.


Epistemological access, foundation phase schooling, human capital theory, human rights discourse, capabilities approach, social justice theory.


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