Reproducing class? Exploring Class-Based Cultural Practices Among Danish and American Teachers

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Abstract

In numerous studies, class-based cultural practices have been shown to have importance for family strategies for child rearing, and for the ways in which children manage to navigate in schools, from Kindergarten to Universities. However, not many studies demonstrate how cultural and professional practices of frontline professionals in schools may contribute to these effects. Within public administration, it has been demonstrated, how frontline professionals, working within political and economic constraints, may also engage in class-based cultural and moral practices, drawing on and reinforcing, existing social and symbolic boundaries. Building on these contributions, this paper explores how teachers address, evaluate and categorize children from different class backgrounds, when asked to identity children in need of extra help. Focusing on the identification of possible problems allows for the exploration of class-based assumptions and the use of class stereotypes.
Also, it allows for an analysis of how policy- and professional discourses may be deeply entangled with such class-based assumptions. The paper builds on empirical data from 71 semi-structured interviews conducted with teachers and preschool-teachers in Denmark and USA, using both traditional semi-structured interviewing techniques as well as a vignette experiment allowing for a systematic test of class difference. Also, the comparative nature of the data allows for the exploration of possible similar mechanisms across different national contexts with respect to both
educational institutions and policies and class structure. With these analyses, the paper contributes to deepening our understanding of the school system as a key mechanism for class reproduction.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages45
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventAnnual Conference of the Eastern Sociological Association - Baltimore, United States
Duration: 23 Feb 201724 Feb 2017

Conference

ConferenceAnnual Conference of the Eastern Sociological Association
CountryUnited States
CityBaltimore
Period23/02/1724/02/17

Keywords

  • social work and social conditions

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