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‘Different people, different backgrounds, different identities’: Filling the vacuum created by policy views of ‘cultural capital’

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-26, 16:07 authored by Gareth Bates, Steve Connolly
The notion of cultural capital, defined in its Arnoldian sense, of “the best that has been thought and said”, has been at the centre of the Conservative government's education policy for the last few years in England. While it is clear that this version of cultural capital – different from the sense in which it was used by Pierre Bourdieu, who popularised the term – has been deployed to valorise certain types of social, educational and cultural knowledge, it is not clear at all what use teachers make of the term or indeed, how they view it. This article presents data from an evaluation of a programme for disadvantaged students in English primary and secondary schools that sought to make a focus on cultural capital, and tries to assess how teachers perceive and use the term. The article posits that teachers see exhortations to accumulate cultural capital as part of their role, but in much broader terms than the government does, and that they seek to fill the “vacuum” created by the current policy perspective on cultural capital.



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The Curriculum Journal





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Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care

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