The analysis has based on the concept of ‘cultural arbitrary’ (Bourdieu and Passeron 1990) and ‘habitus’ (Bourdieu 1971). In this perspective, dominant ideas on education are the result of the ability of particular dominant group or groups to impose their own conception of ‘culture’ or ‘relevance’ as ‘cultural arbitraries’, which may be expected to reflect their own interests (cfr. Bourdieu & Passeron, 1990). Bourdieu and Passeron emphasise that it is largely the educational system that institutionalizes these cultural arbitraries; for instance in the form of making them into qualifications, and by making the allocation of those qualifications appear as results of individual ability (or the lack of them). The specific content of the dominant cultural or linguistic form – or cultural capital – is less important for Bourdieu’s theory than the mere existence of an arbitrary standard which is recognized as legitimate even by those unable to perform it. Lower-class students do not in general possess these traits, so the failure of the majority of these students is inevitable, but explained as ‘natural’ rather than socio-politically constructed. Therefore, for Bourdieu, educational credentials help to reproduce and legitimate social inequalities, as higher-class individuals are seen to deserve their privileged access to them. Bourdieu (1990) also forged the concept of ‘habitus’, which is a system of durable (once formed, they last throughout the lifetime) and transportable dispositions inculcated by objective structural conditions (such as family background and experiences and ways of seeing the world). Crucially, the habitus is seen as being embodied, and as generating practices for members of particular social groups (and it should be noted that all social groups have their own habituses, not just the socially disadvantaged; indeed these habitueses are what distinguish the academically, socially and economically successful) (Bourdieu, 1990). Bourdieu sees school as a productive ‘locus of habitus’, which gives rise to patterns of thought, which ‘organise reality by directing and organising thinking about reality by directing and makes what he thinks thinkable for him as such and in the particular form in which it is thought’ (1971, 194-5), so that ‘it may be assumed that every individual owes to the type of schooling he has received a set of basic deeply interiorised master patterns’ (ibid, 192-3). Thus, together, the cultural arbitrary and the habitus powerfully, though not automatically or definitively, shape conceptions of educational relevance. In essence, the cultural arbitrary means that everyone is led to want the same things, and the habitus means that they all have different and durable, capacities to achieve those ends.

Comparing the Views of Students, Parents and Teachers on the Emerging Notion of Relevance of Education / Tolomelli, Alessandro. - STAMPA. - (2016), pp. 183-201.

Comparing the Views of Students, Parents and Teachers on the Emerging Notion of Relevance of Education

TOLOMELLI, ALESSANDRO
2016

Abstract

The analysis has based on the concept of ‘cultural arbitrary’ (Bourdieu and Passeron 1990) and ‘habitus’ (Bourdieu 1971). In this perspective, dominant ideas on education are the result of the ability of particular dominant group or groups to impose their own conception of ‘culture’ or ‘relevance’ as ‘cultural arbitraries’, which may be expected to reflect their own interests (cfr. Bourdieu & Passeron, 1990). Bourdieu and Passeron emphasise that it is largely the educational system that institutionalizes these cultural arbitraries; for instance in the form of making them into qualifications, and by making the allocation of those qualifications appear as results of individual ability (or the lack of them). The specific content of the dominant cultural or linguistic form – or cultural capital – is less important for Bourdieu’s theory than the mere existence of an arbitrary standard which is recognized as legitimate even by those unable to perform it. Lower-class students do not in general possess these traits, so the failure of the majority of these students is inevitable, but explained as ‘natural’ rather than socio-politically constructed. Therefore, for Bourdieu, educational credentials help to reproduce and legitimate social inequalities, as higher-class individuals are seen to deserve their privileged access to them. Bourdieu (1990) also forged the concept of ‘habitus’, which is a system of durable (once formed, they last throughout the lifetime) and transportable dispositions inculcated by objective structural conditions (such as family background and experiences and ways of seeing the world). Crucially, the habitus is seen as being embodied, and as generating practices for members of particular social groups (and it should be noted that all social groups have their own habituses, not just the socially disadvantaged; indeed these habitueses are what distinguish the academically, socially and economically successful) (Bourdieu, 1990). Bourdieu sees school as a productive ‘locus of habitus’, which gives rise to patterns of thought, which ‘organise reality by directing and organising thinking about reality by directing and makes what he thinks thinkable for him as such and in the particular form in which it is thought’ (1971, 194-5), so that ‘it may be assumed that every individual owes to the type of schooling he has received a set of basic deeply interiorised master patterns’ (ibid, 192-3). Thus, together, the cultural arbitrary and the habitus powerfully, though not automatically or definitively, shape conceptions of educational relevance. In essence, the cultural arbitrary means that everyone is led to want the same things, and the habitus means that they all have different and durable, capacities to achieve those ends.
2016
Governance of Educational Trajectories in Europe
183
201
Comparing the Views of Students, Parents and Teachers on the Emerging Notion of Relevance of Education / Tolomelli, Alessandro. - STAMPA. - (2016), pp. 183-201.
Tolomelli, Alessandro
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/541489
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