Reproduction and Transformation of Inequalities in Schooling – The Theoretical Constructs of Bourdieu

This article is concerned with the theoretical constructs of Bourdieu and their contribution to understanding the reproduction of social and cultural inequalities in schooling. While Bourdieu has been criticised for his reproductive emphasis, this article proposes that there is transformative potential in his theoretical constructs and that these suggest possibilities for schools and teachers to improve the educational outcomes of marginalised students. The article draws together three areas of contribution to this theme of transformation; beginning by characterising habitus as constituted by reproductive and transformative traits and considering the possibilities for the restructuring of students’ habitus. This is followed by a discussion of cultural capital and the way that teachers can draw upon a variety of cultural capitals to act as agents of transformation rather than reproduction. The article concludes by considering the necessity of a transformation of the field to improve the educational outcomes of marginalised students.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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