Elites in Education: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Elites in Education

1st Edition

Edited by Agnes Van Zanten


1,712 pages

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Hardback: 9781138827219
pub: 2018-04-24

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The sociopolitical, and cultural, implications of the provision and consumption of elite education are dizzyingly complex and controversial. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, one of the most publicized and contested areas of research focuses on the education of elites, and the institutional and power structures which such groups reinforce and reproduce. Now, answering the need for an authoritative reference work to make sense of this disputatious body of thought, Routledge announces a new title Elites in Education which brings together in one easy-to-use ‘mini library’ foundational major works and the very best cutting-edge contributions.

Table of Contents

Elite education: Major Themes on Education

Edited by Agnès van Zanten

Volume 1. Education, power elites and the upper class



General Introduction

Part 1. Education and political and business elites’ worldviews and networks

1. C. Wright Mills, ‘The Structure of Power in American Society’. British Journal of Sociology, 9, 1956, 29-41.

2. Anthony Giddens, ‘Elites in the British Class Structure’, Sociological Review, 20, 3, 1972, 345–372.

3. Ezra N. Suleiman, ‘Positions’, in Elites in French Society: The Politics of Survival (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978), pp. 95-125.

4. Loic J. D. Wacquant, ‘From Ruling Class to Field of Power: An Interview with Pierre Bourdieu on La Noblesse d’Etat’, Theory, Culture, Society, 10, 1993, 19–44.

5. Gareth Williams and Ourania Filippakou, ‘Higher Education and UK Elite Formation in the Twentieth Century’, Higher Education, 59, 1, 2010, 1–20.

6. Matthew Bond, ‘The Bases of Elite Social Behaviour: Patterns of Club Affiliation Among Members of the House of Lords’, Sociology, 46, 4, 2012, 613-632.

7. Shamus Rahman Khan, ‘The Sociology of Elites’, Annual Review of Sociology, 38, 2012, 361-377.

8. Jan Nespor, ‘Schooling for the Long-term: Elite Education and Temporal Accumulation’, Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 17, 2014, 27-42.

9. Marte Mangset, ‘Varying Elite Identities among Top Bureaucrats: A Study of Higher Education in France, Great Britain and Norway’, L’Année Sociologique, 66, 1, 2016, 225-250.

Part 2. Education and upper class status, culture and manners

10. Thorstein Veblen, ‘The Higher Learning as an Expression of the Pecuniary Culture’, in The Theory of the Leisure Class (New York: MacMillan/Oxford University Press, 2009 [1899]), pp. 167-183.

11. E. D. Baltzell, ‘Education and Status Ascription’, Philadelphia Gentlemen: The Making of a National Upper-Class (The Free Press/New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1958/1989).

12. Pierre Bourdieu, ‘The Aristocracy of Culture’, (trans. R. Nice), Media, Culture and Society, 2, 3, 1980, 225-254.

13. Paul DiMaggio and John Mohr, ‘Cultural Capital, Educational Attainment and Marital Selection’, American Journal of Sociology,90, 6, 1985, 1231-1261.

14. Philippe Coulangeon and Yannick Lemel, ‘Is "Distinction" Really Outdated? Questioning the Meaning of the Omnivourization of Musical Taste in Contemporary France’, Poetics, 35, 2, 2007, 93-111.

15. Dave Griffiths, Andrew Miles and Mike Savage, ‘The End of the English Cultural Elite?’, The Sociological Review, 56, s1, 2008, 189-209.

16. Magne Flemmen, ‘The Structure of the Upper Class: A Social Space Approach’, Sociology, 46, 6, 2012, 1039-1058.

17. Natascha Notten, Bram Lancee, Herman G. van de Werfhorst and Harry B. Ganzeboom, ‘Educational Stratification in Cultural Participation: Cognitive Competence or Status Motivation?’, Journal of Cultural Economics, 39, 2, 2015, 177-203.

18. Mikael Börjesson, Donald Broady, Brigitte Le Roux, Ida Lidegran and Mikael Palme, ‘Cultural Capital in the Elite Subfield of Swedish Higher Education’, Poetics, 56, 2016, 15-34.



Volume 2 National traditions and cosmopolitism in elite education



Part 3. Education and the development and segmentation of national elites

19. Steven B. Levine, ‘The Rise of American Boarding Schools and the Development of a National Upper Class’, Social Problems, 28, 1, 1980, 63–94.

20. Peter W. Cookson, Jr. and Caroline H. Persell, ‘English and American Residential Secondary Schools: A Comparative Study of the Reproduction of Social Elites’, Comparative Education Review, 29, 3, 1985, 283–298.

21. Geoffrey Walford, ‘Ruling-class Classification and Framing’, British Educational Research Journal 12, 2, 1986, 183-195.

22. James D. Maxwell and Mary Percival Maxwell, ‘The Reproduction of Class in Canada’s Elite Independent Schools’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 16, 3, 1995, 309-326.


23. Sally Power, Phillip Brown, Annabelle Allouch and Gerbrand Tholen, ‘Self, Career and Nationhood: The Contrasting Aspirations of British and French Elite Graduates’, British Journal of Sociology, 64, 4, 2013, 578-596.

24. Fazal Rizvi, ‘Old Elite Schools, History and the Construction of a New Imaginary’, Globalisation, Societies and Education, 12, 2, 2014, 290-308.

25. Debbie Epstein, ‘Race-ing Class Ladies: Lineages of Privilege in an Elite South African School’, Globalization, Societies and Education, 12, 2, 2014, 244-261.

26. Agnes van Zanten and Claire Maxwell, ‘Elite Education and the State in France: Durable Ties and New Challenges’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 36, 1, 2015, 71-94.

27. Sandra Ziegler, Victoria Gessaghi and Sebastian Fuentes, ‘Elite Schools and Institutional Ethos: Differential Options and Profiles in the Education of Privileged Sectors in Argentina at the Present Time’, 2015 (unpublished paper).

Part 4. Education, cosmopolitism and the growth of transnational elites

28. Don Weenink, ‘Cosmopolitanism as a Form of Capital: Parents Preparing their Children for a Globalizing World’, Sociology, 42, 6, 2008, 1089-1106.

29. Stephen J. Ball, ‘Is There a Global Middle Class? The Beginnings of a Cosmopolitan Sociology of Education: A Review’, Journal of Comparative Education, 69, 1, 2010, 137-161.

30. Catherine Doherty, Allan Luke, Paul Shield and Candice Hincksman, ‘Choosing Your Niche: The Social Ecology of the International Baccalaureate Diploma in Australia’, International Studies in Sociology of Education, 22, 4, 2012, 311-332.

31. Jane Kenway and Johannah Fahey, ‘Staying Ahead of the Game: The Globalising Practices of Elite Schools’, Globalisation, Societies and Education, 12, 2, 2014, 177-195.

32. Hiroki Igarashi and Hiro Saito, ‘Cosmopolitanism as Cultural Capital: Exploring the Intersection of Globalization, Education and Stratification’, Cultural Sociology, 8, 3, 2014, 222–239.

33. Rachel Brooks and Johanna Waters, ‘The Hidden Internationalism of Elite English Schools’, Sociology, 49, 2, 2015, 212-228.

34. Joel Windle and Maria Alice Nogueira, ‘The Role of Internationalisation in the Schooling of Brazilian Elites: Distinctions between Two Class Fractions’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 36, 1, 2015, 174-192.

35. Paul Tarc and Aparna Mishra Tarc, ‘Elite International Schools in the Global South: Transnational Space, Class Relationalities and the "Middling" International Schoolteacher’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 36, 1, 2015, 34-52.

36. Rebecca Ye and Erik Nylander, ‘The Transnational Track: State Sponsorship and Singapore's Oxbridge Elite’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 36, 1, 2015, 11-33.

37. Domingo Garcia-Garza and A. C. Wagner, ‘The Internationalisation of Business "Knowledge": French Business Schools as a Pathway to Mexican Elites?, Cahiers de la recherche sur l’éducation et les savoirs, 14, 2015, 141-162.

Volume 3: The Fabrication of elite identities in families and schools



Part 5. Class and gender work and enactment in families and schools

38. Carol Vincent and Stephen J. Ball, ‘"Making Up" the Middle-class Child: Families, Activities and Class Dispositions’, Sociology, 41, 6, 2007, 1061-1077.

39. Kari Stefansen and Helene Aarseth, ‘Enriching Intimacy: The Role of the Emotional in the "Resourcing" of Middle‐class Children’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 32, 3, 2011, 389-405.

40. A. Lareau and J. McCrory Calarco, ‘Class, Cultural Capital and Institutions: The Case of Families and Schools’, in S. Fiske and H. Markus (eds), Facing Social Class (New York, Russell Sage Foundation, 2012), pp. 61-86.

41. Ruben Gaztambide-Fernandez, ‘What is an Elite Boarding School?’, Review of Educational Research, 79, 3, 2009, 1090-1128.

42. Lois Weis and Kristin Cipollone, ‘"Class Work": Producing Privilege and Social Mobility in Elite US Secondary Schools’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 34, 5-6, 2013, 701-722.

43. Helen Proctor, ‘Masculinity and Social Class, Tradition and Change: The Production of "Young Christian Gentlemen" at an Elite Australian Boys’ School’, Gender and Education, 23, 7, 2011, 843-856.

44. Claire Maxwell and Peter Aggleton, ‘Agentic Practice and Privileging Orientations Among Privately Educated Young Women’, The Sociological Review, 62, 4, 2014, 800-820.

45. Alexandra Allan and Caire Charles, ‘Cosmo Girls: Configurations of Class and Femininity in Elite Educational Settings’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 35, 3, 2014, 333-352.

46. Johannah Fahey, ‘Privileged Girls: The Place of Femininity and Femininity in Place’, Globalisation, Societies and Education, 12, 2, 2014, 228-243.

47. Joan Forbes and Bob Lingard, ‘Assured Optimism in a Scottish Girls’ School: Habitus and the (Re)Production of Global Privilege’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 36, 1, 2015, 116–136.


Part 6. Privilege, excellence and merit in institutional and students’ discourses and practices

48. M. Stevens, ‘Decisions’, in Creating a Class (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007), pp. 184-227.

  1. 49. A. Mendez, ‘Socialisation into Meritocracy at the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires’, in S. Ziegler and V. Gessaghi (eds), Formación de las elites. Investigaciones y debates en Argentina, Brasil y Francia, Buenos Aires, (Manantial, Flacso, 2012).

50. Shamus Khan and Colin Jerolmack, ‘Saying Meritocracy and Doing Privilege’, The Sociological Quarterly, 54, 1, 2013, 9-19.

51. Werner Helsper, Mareke Niemann, Anja Gibson and Lena Dreier, ‘"Elite" and "Excellence": A Delicate Matter for Head Teachers of Exclusive Secondary Schools in Germany’, Zeitschrift für Erziehungs-wissenschaft, 19, 2014, 181-201.

52. Aaron Koh, ‘Doing Class Analysis in Singapore’s Elite Education: Unravelling the Smokescreen of "Meritocratic Talk"’, Globalisation, Societies and Education, 12, 2, 2014, 196-210.

53. Muriel Darmon and Manuel Schotté, ‘Ranking Students and Ranking Runners: Hierarches in Institutions of Excellence’, trans. Lucy Garnier, Sociétés Contemporaines, 102, 2, 2016, 45-73.

54. Hugues Draelants and Brigitte Darchy-Koechlin, ‘Flaunting One's Academic Pedigree? Self-presentation of Students from Elite French Schools’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 32, 1, 2011, 17-34.

55. Heinz-Hermann Kruger, Catharina Keßler, Ariane Otto and Anne Schippling, ‘"Elite" and "Excellence" from the Perspective of Young People and Their Peers’, Zeitschrift für Erziehungs-wissenschaft, 19, 2014, 221-242.

56. Natasha Kumar Warikoo and Christina Fuhr, ‘Legitimating Status: Perceptions of Meritocracy and Inequality among Undergraduates at an Elite British University’, British Education Research Journal, 40, 4, 2014, 699-717.

Volume 4 Pathways to elite institutions and professions



Part 7. High-status tracks and admission to elite universities

57. Jerome Karabel, ‘Status-group Struggle, Organizational Interests, and the Limits of Institutional Autonomy: The Transformation of Harvard, Yale and Princeton, 1918-1940’, Theory and Society, 13, 1, 1984, 1-40.

58. David Karen, ‘Toward a Political-organizational Model of Gatekeeping: The Case of Elite Colleges’, Sociology of Education, 63, 4, 1990, 227-40.

59. Thomas J. Espenshade, Lauren E. Hale and Chang Y. Chung, ‘The Frog Pond Revisited: High School Academic Context, Class Rank and Elite College Admission’, Sociology of Education, 78, 4, 2005, 269-293.

60. Ann L. Mullen, ‘Elite Destinations: Pathways to Attending an Ivy League University’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 30, 1, 2009, 15-27.

61. Anna Zimdars, Alice Sullivan and Anthony Heath, ‘Elite Higher Education Admissions in the Arts and Sciences: Is Cultural Capital the Key?’, Sociology, 43, 4, 2009, 648-666.

62. Vikki Boliver, ‘How Fair is Access to More Prestigious UK Universities?’, British Journal of Sociology, 64, 2, 2013, 344 – 364.

63. Ye Liu, ‘Meritocracy and the Gaokao: A Survey Study of Higher Education Selection and Socio-economic Participation in East China’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 34, 5-6, 2013, 868-887.

64. Annette Lareau and Yi- Lin Chiang, ‘Elite Education in China: An Overview of the Transition from High School to College (unpublished new article).

65. Agnes van Zanten, ‘How Families and Schools Produce an Elite: Paths of Upward Mobility in France’, trans. Lucy Garnierm Année Sociologique, 66, 1, 2016, 81-113.



Part 8. Routes and selection into elite professions

66. Michael Useem and Jerome Karabel, ‘Pathways to Top Corporate Management’, American Sociological Review, 51, 2, 1986, 184-200.

67. Richard L. Zweigenhaft, ‘Prep School and Public School Graduates of Harvard: A Longitudinal Study of the Accumulation of Social and Cultural Capital’, Journal of Higher Education,64, 2, 211-225.

68. Michael Hartmann, ‘Class-specific Habitus and the Social Reproduction of the Business Elite in Germany and France’, The Sociological Review, 42, 2, 2000, 241-261.

69. Lauren A. Rivera, ‘Ivies, Extracurriculars, and Exclusion: Elite Employers’ Use of Educational Credentials’, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 19, 1, 2011, 71-90.

70. Andrew C. G. Cook, James R. Faulconbridge and Daniel Muzio, ‘London’s Legal Elite: Recruitment through Cultural Capital and the Reproduction of Exclusivity in City Professional Fields’, Journal of Environment and Planning A, 44, 7, 2012, 1744-1762.

71. Lindsey MacMillan, Claire Tyler and Anna Vignoles, ‘Who Gets the Top Jobs? The Role of Family Background and Networks in Recent Graduates’ Access to High Status Professions’, Journal of Social Policy, 44, 3, 2015, 487-515.

72. Philip Brown, Sally Power, Gerbrand Tholen and Annabelle Allouch, ‘Credentials, Talent and Cultural Capital : A Comparative Study of Educational Elites in England and France’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 37, 2, 2016, 191-211.

73. Felix Bühlmann, Thomas David and Andre Mach, ‘Cosmopolitan Capital and the Internationalization of the Field of Business Elites: Evidence from the Swiss Case’, Cultural Sociology, 7, 2, 2013, 211-229.

74. Jongyoung Kim, ‘Global Cultural Capital and Global Positional Competition: International Graduate Students’ Transnational Occupational Trajectories’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 37, 1, 2016, 30-50.



About the Editor

Agnes van Zanten is a sociologist and Senior Research Professor working for the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique at the Observatoire Sociologique du Changement (OSC) of Sciences Po, Paris and co-director of the research group on Educational policies at the Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire d'Evaluation des Politiques Publiques (LIEPP) of Sciences Po.

About the Series

Major Themes in Education

The collections in this series bring together the most significant and influential writings on the key themes within education systems worldwide. Edited by acknowledged leaders in the field, the volumes include essential readings from a wide range of sources. Complete with new introductions and thorough indices, each collection gives an historical overview of the development of the theme concerned and also provides students, teachers and researchers with an insight into current debates within the field.

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