ERIC Number: ED394180
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996
Reference Count: N/A
On the Cusp: Parents Choosing between State and Private Schools in the UK: Action within an Economy of Symbolic Goods.
Ball, Stephen J.
School choice is a controversial topic in educational politics in the United Kingdom. This paper focuses on how parents choose between state and private schools. The theoretical framework is based on P. Bourdieu's work, "Distinction" (1986). It is argued that choice is a key mechanism in the uneven accumulation and reproduction of cultural capital through education. Data were derived from interviews with 137 parents who were in the process of choosing secondary education for their children. The paper examines the following themes: comparison of the systems, the tactical choosing of schools, choice location, the role of parental principles and the child's best interests, and cultural resources. Overall, middle-class parents are familiar and comfortable with the mode of consumption operating in the state education system and, further, derive particular advantages from it. The market form valorizes certain types of cultural and social capital that are unevenly distributed across the population. The use of these capitals in choice-making and choice-getting enables certain social groups to maintain or change their position in the social structure. School choice is a critical point of cultural investment in the symbolic economy. A conclusion is that for many of the families, choice of school is a reinvestment or strategy of reconversion to conserve or enhance their class ranking. (Contains 2 tables and 13 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom