Doomed from the start?: A Bourdieusian interrogation of working-class students in a rural Canadian context
LE3 .A278 2012
Bachelor of Arts
The objective of this thesis is to explore the obstacles that working-class students in rural Nova Scotia face in the public education system. With a focus on Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of class distinction, as well as his logic of practice, the thesis explores how well working-class students fare in the education system compared to their upper-middle class peers and explores why differences persist. The basic question is whether Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital helps explain the differential outcome of schooling for middle and working class students. To address this question, I investigate factors that play a role in the decision for some working-class students to proceed to postsecondary education while other working-class individuals do not pursue further schooling. For this thesis, I conducted primary research, utilizing a qualitative approach, conducting four semi-structured interviews to obtain first-hand data. This method allowed for open, candid discussions. As a result, the interviewees played a significant role in shaping the research. The participants were selected by means of a convenience sample. Themes that were derived from the secondary research and which emerged from literature review were used to guide my questions during the interviews. These themes, along with themes that emerged from the primary research, were then analyzed. Overall, the research illustrated that both cultural and social capital play a significant role in the educational experiences and academic attainment of working-class students in rural Nova Scotia.
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