Using exploratory factor analysis and Bourdieu’s concept of the illusio to examine inequality in an English school
This article examines how exploratory factor analysis and Bourdieu’s concept of the illusio were applied to a study of an English secondary school in a disadvantaged area of the West Midlands. It examined the attitudes of the school’s entire cohort of 156 students during their first year at the school. By comparing the students’ self-reported attitudes to school and school practitioners’ perceptions of students’ attitudes to school, the study found that students from poorer backgrounds and those with a lower level of cultural capital were viewed more negatively than others by teachers and pastoral managers. Exploratory factor analysis was used to create robust economic and cultural capital profiles that reflected the capital within the field of the school. Exploratory factor analysis also created thematic factor scores from the data collected from both the students and the practitioners. The study found that the school, through ability grouping, created an elite group of high-capital students who practitioners perceived more positively than other students. However, this was not reflected in the students’ self-reported views of the school. The findings suggested that although the outward appearance of the schooling had changed considerably since the tripartite system was introduced, the nature of the illusio, and the students advantaged and disadvantaged by it, remained fundamentally the same.
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Citation : Griffiths, A. (2018) Using exploratory factor analysis and Bourdieu’s concept of the illusio to examine inequality in an English school. Power and Education, 10(1), pp. 40–57.
Research Group : Institute for Education Futures
Peer Reviewed : Yes