- Marxist explanation, they argue that schools are produced by and run by the middle class. The forms of knowledge, values and ways of behaving in school are middle class middle class students possess these middle class skills, which Bourdieu calls cultural capital.
- Working class pupils are unlikely to possess cultural capital, therefore do not have the same chances to succeed.
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Cultural capital in action:
- Bourdieu argues that middle class students are more likely to do better at school than working class students because they possess cultural capital.
- Working class students are unlikely to possess cultural capital and as a result underachieve at school.
- Sullivan(2001) carried out a questionnaire on children approaching school-leaving age in four schools in England. He found that children were more likely to be successful if they read more complex fiction and watched TV programmes such as science and current affairs documentaries. Watching programmed such as soap operas and game shows did not improve GCSE performance. Pupils who read widely and watched sophisticated TV developed wider vocabularies and greater knowledge of cultural figures, and this was reflected in exam performance.
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