NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Back to results
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ838306
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 15
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2680
Lady Astor's Campaign for Nursery Schools in Britain, 1930-1939: Attempting to Valorize Cultural Capital in a Male-Dominated Political Field
Brehony, Kevin J.
History of Education Quarterly, v49 n2 p196-210 May 2009
This article examines the work of Lady Nancy Astor (1879-1964) in campaigning for nursery education and nursery schools in Britain from the late 1920s until the Second World War. Arguably no elected politician in England at any time, including the present, has identified themselves more closely with the cause of nursery schooling in Britain. Historiography that focuses on the impact of exceptional "pioneers" is frequently hagiographical and emphasizes the actions of charismatic figures at the expense of contexts and the hidden political, economic, and social forces operating within them. The main assumption underlying the approach here is that individuals are themselves shaped by social relations and that their capacity to impact on events depends on the structure of social relations and their place within them. This formulation, although derived mainly from debates within Marxist theory, shares affinities with the work of Pierre Bourdieu, who saw society as constituted by fields in which agents endowed with varying amounts of economic, cultural, and symbolic capital compete for scarce material and symbolic goods in "a general economy of practices." Here, the author profiles Lady Nancy Astor and discusses how Astor's work for the nursery school provides evidence of the state of the feminist movement during the 1920s and 1930s in Britain. (Contains 52 footnotes.)
Blackwell Publishing. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8599; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Great Britain)