Markets, schools and the convertibility of economic capital : the complex dynamics of class choice

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Title: Markets, schools and the convertibility of economic capital : the complex dynamics of class choice
Authors: Lynch, Kathleen
Moran, Marie
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/2484
Date: Apr-2006
Abstract: While economic capital is not synonymous with cultural, social or symbolic capital in either its constitutional or organisational form, it nevertheless remains the more flexible and convertible form of capital. The convertibility of economic capital has particular resonance within ‘Celtic Tiger’ Ireland. The State’s reluctance to fully endorse an internal market between schools has resulted in middle class parents using their private wealth to create an educational market outside State control in the private sector to help secure the class futures of their children. Using data from recent studies of second-level education in Republic of Ireland, and data compiled on the newly emerging ‘grind’ schools (businesses selling educational programmes on a purely commercial basis outside the control of the Department of Education and Science), we outline how the availability of economic capital allows well-off middle class parents to choose fee-paying schooling, or to opt out of the formal school sector entirely to employ market solutions to their class ambitions. The data also show that schools are not passive actors in the class game; they actively collude in the class project to their own survival advantage.Focusing too much on the dynamics of parental choice between schools leads to a neglect of the markets in education being created outside of the school system: the ‘choice’ that exists is no longer simply between schools, but also between schools and private businesses. Focus on parental choice also forecloses debate about the central roles that schools themselves play in perpetuating class inequality.
Funding Details: Not applicable
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Copyright (published version): 2006 Taylor & Francis
Keywords: Social class;School choice;Capitalism;Bourdieu;Markets in education;Ireland
Subject LCSH: Social classes--Ireland
School choice--Ireland
Education--Economic aspects--Ireland
Schools--Ireland--Admission
DOI: 10.1080/01425690600556362
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice Research Collection

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