Elite schools have an intriguing capacity to endure and adapt in the face of social, cultural and political change. They help both to reproduce power, privilege and status and also to regularly produce them afresh. The intricacies involved, over time and place, have attracted the abiding empirical, methodological and conceptual interest of sociologists and historians; recently, anthropologists and geographers have also responded to their allure. Collectively, the focus of such studies is usually on class making and the manner in which gender and race/ethnicity, place and mobility overlap and are part of the mix.
This edited collection is framed around the notion of a ‘new sociology of elite education’, but it speaks into this wider space of inquiry in which studies of such schools are becoming more interdisciplinary. In so doing it brings together a new array of conceptual and theoretical tools while also deepening those that already exist. The contributions examine various configurations of contemporary class making and their attendant politics. These explorations are situated in the specificities of geographical locales where the complex dynamics of both national/local educational priorities and global/transnational forces are played out. In addition to showing how these dynamics put pressure on elite schools to redefine them, the book’s diverse international focus shines a light on new and emerging global patterns. This book was originally published as a special issue of British Journal of Sociology of Education.
Introduction: Sociological silhouettes of elite schooling Jane Kenway and Aaron Koh
1. The transnational track: state sponsorship and Singapore’s Oxbridge elite Rebecca Ye and Erik Nylander
2. Elite international schools in the Global South: transnational space, class relationalities and the ‘middling’ international schoolteacher Paul Tarc and Aparna Mishra Tarc
3. ‘Thousands waiting at our gates’: moral character, legitimacy and social justice in Irish elite schools Aline Courtois
4. Elite education and the State in France: durable ties and new challenges Agnès van Zanten and Claire Maxwell
5. The gift economy of elite schooling: the changing contours and contradictions of privileged benefaction Jane Kenway and Johannah Fahey
6. Assured optimism in a Scottish girls’ school: habitus and the (re)production of global privilege Joan Forbes and Bob Lingard
7. Elite schools, postcolonial Chineseness and hegemonic masculinities in Singapore Daniel P.S. Goh
8. Social class as flow and mutability: the Barbados case Heather Greenhalgh-Spencer, Michelle Castro, Ergin Bulut, Koeli Goel, Chunfeng Lin and Cameron McCarthy
9. The role of internationalisation in the schooling of Brazilian elites: distinctions between two class fractions Joel Windle and Maria Alice Nogueira