Experiences and choices: A battle of the habitus - working class pupils and positive outcomes

Macpherson, Kenneth G. (2020) Experiences and choices: A battle of the habitus - working class pupils and positive outcomes. Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The importance of supporting and acknowledging the potential barriers young people from socially disadvantaged areas face has always been of importance in educational research and policy in Scotland, and the UK; for example through the Scottish Government’s Attainment Challenge and the work of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. This research aims to understand young people’s aspirations from the lens of Bourdieu’s Theory of Reproduction, in particular his concept of habitus and its associated dispositions. This research develops the work on aspirations in relation to understanding how factors such as family, school and social class influence young people’s habitus, dispositions and aspirations. A clear link is found between a young person’s primary habitus and the role of the school in transforming this habitus. Furthermore, this research also contributes to literature and knowledge on using Bourdieu’s theory as method, where a unique approach to using Bourdieu’s concepts is developed to give a theoretical, methodological lens with which to analyse data under three high-level themes: dispositions, educational field and doxic, habituated and emergent aspirations. This research finds that it is possible for a young person to move between these types of aspirations and that the school and its associated partners are key in transforming young people’s habitus by using the school’s institutional habitus and opportunities offered by Developing the Young Workforce policy in Scotland. Various example of good practice are identified where this has been successful and key recommendations in relation to supporting youth transitions are made in relation to ways the school can support young people to transform their habitus, should this be appropriate for individual young people. This is demonstrated through one participant whose habitus was transformed in order to achieve his goals.

This research is situated within an interpretivist paradigm, focusing on quantitative methods, considering liberal and neoliberal influences on policy and education. The above aims are achieved through one-to-one semi-structured interviews using pre-prepared vignettes, involving young people aged 16-17 years old from a school in Glasgow where over 90% of the pupil population and their families live in the two poorest socio-economic groupings, as highlighted by the Scottish Index of Multiple Depravation. The aspirations of the individual participants are also considered in relation to their intended and actual aspirations and related to doxic, habituated, and emergent aspirations. The research in this dissertation is contextualised within the personal and professional experiences of the researcher and how their background was a catalyst for carrying out this research.

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Bourdieu, Habitus, aspirations, liberalism, neoliberalism, education policy, Doctor of Education, doxic aspirations, emergent aspirations, habituated aspirations, dispositions, educational field, Scottish education, theory as method, socioeconomic status, habitus transformation, interpretivism, Bourdieusian methdological framework, thematic analysis of data, developing the young workforce, professional practice.
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Houston, Dr. Muir
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Mr Kenneth G MacPherson
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-77876
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2020 12:08
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2020 12:10
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/77876

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