Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Pierre Bourdieu's Model of Cultural Reproduction: The Role of Teachers in Sustaining Traditional Power Systems
by Savage, Lawrence E., Ed.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2011, 333; 3507726
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not teachers would predict differing educational outcomes for students based on cultural and social capital measures—drawn from the work of Pierre Bourdieu and the field of cultural reproduction theory. To this end, surveys were distributed within a large urban district within North Carolina. The surveys were divided into three models, with each model differing based on hypothetical students' parents' background information (their level of income, education, and current employment) that roughly represented a working-class, a professional class, and a non-professional wealthy family. Under each model were four survey versions, which contained 'low-brow' and 'high-brow' independent variables (a cultural and social capital measure with two levels each). The hypothetical students' race, gender, age, and grades were held constant on all 12 survey versions. Teachers were randomly presented one of the 12 survey versions and were asked to predict whether the student would drop out of high school, graduate from high school, or graduate from college. In addition, teachers completed an open-ended writing prompt explaining their selection. 1,301 teacher responses were received. Results indicated that teachers in the study evaluated students based on factors unrelated to their actual cognitive abilities. The hypothetical students' parents' background characteristics influenced teachers' selections more than the students' cultural and social capital measures. Qualitative data derived from the open-ended question supported the quantitative conclusions and provided further insight into teachers' predictions by revealing that parents from middle and upper class families cared more for their children than low-class families, and held lower expectations for children from low socio-economic families.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: English, Fenwick W.
Commitee: Schainker, Stanley, Veitch, James E., Zimmer, Catherine
School: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Department: Educational Administration (Ed. D.)
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 73/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, School administration
Keywords: Bourdieu, Pierre, Cultural capital, Cultural reproduction, Power systems, Social capital, Teacher bias
Publication Number: 3507726
ISBN: 9781267331403
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