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Within school and beyond the gate: the difficulties of being educationally successful and working-class

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2011
Issue number2
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)287-302
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Much educational research on working-class boys has focused on their failure and lack of aspiration. However, there has been little research on working-class boys’ experiences of success. The very idea of being educationally successful and working class is problematic, as success has been argued to be dependent on the abandonment of aspects of working-class background. This article highlights the difficulties that some working-class grammar school boys face in reconciling their identity with educational success. For these boys the issue of identity is complex and there is a conflict between their identity, based on their class background, and their identity as an aspiring student. Using Bourdieu’s theory of habitus, this article explores the complexities associated with identities that are developing in social fields different from those in which they originated, and discusses how this impacts emotionally on working-class boys.