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The making of “a product to be proud of”: an ethnographic examination of the role of the physical curriculum in the social construction of elite bodies and the social stratification of the elite educted student

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dc.contributor.advisor Power, Martin J.
dc.contributor.advisor MacPhail, Ann
dc.contributor.author Kennedy, Margaret
dc.date.accessioned 2019-10-04T11:02:47Z
dc.date.available 2019-10-04T11:02:47Z
dc.date.issued 2014
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10344/8101
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract This thesis contributes to our understanding of the social reproduction of human bodies. Where in looking beyond the body’s role as “a mere input mechanism for informations that the brain then makes sense of” this thesis argues “the body can itself be the site of inquiry” (Khan 2011, p.116). From this perspective, the body is recognised as “a social entity on which social beliefs, social values and social practices are inscribed” (Gard & Wright 2005, p.175). In doing so, this thesis reveals how ‘the management and development of the body is central in its own right to the production of cultural and economic capital and the attainment and maintenance of status” (Shilling 1992, p.3). Consequently, as an important site for the acquisition of bodily dispositions, this thesis recognises the important role the school one attends plays in determining much of an individual’s future, with the cultural preferences within different schools having the potential to produce bodies of differing value. Yet while there is some awareness of the manner in which the dominant classes manipulate the distribution of cognitive knowledge, the role corporeal knowledge plays, is not acknowledged or understood. While academic advantages (like smaller class sizes, or private tuition) are acknowledged as impacting on academic results (Lynch 1989; Lynch and Lodge 2002; Smyth 2008; Smyth and Hannon 2007; Butler 2009) and thus on future careers, advantages in corporeal terms are not considered of any major or lasting significance. A lack of appreciation, that I would argue is at least partly attributable to “the mechanisms by which these advantages are transmitted” being “imperfectly understood” (Lareau 2002, p.747), a situation which is clearly exacerbated by cognitive knowledge being “fairly easy to disseminate and to display,” while corporeal knowledge remains a much more ill-defined, nebulous concept (Khan 2011, p.64). Elite schools, long recognised as key institutions for the transmission of a range of social advantages, also excel at the transmission of corporeal knowledge. In fact, it can be argued that much of the ability of dominant groups to define their bodies and lifestyles as superior can be attributed to the emphasis elite schools place on developing physical capital in their students (Light & Kirk 2001). For this reason, I would argue that to truly understand the reproduction of privilege, greater attention must be paid to elites corporeal disciplining (Khan 2011). Thus, this thesis seeks to demonstrate how through the transmission of corporeal knowledge and more specifically, the physical curriculum in elite schools, privileged groups develop particular bodily dispositions and particular views of their bodies which serve to reinforce their class positions. Demonstrating how physical capital (in the form of body dispositions) is socially produced through a series of cultural processes, this thesis reveals the strong relationship between elite education and the social production of ‘valued’ bodies, and in so doing casts light upon the embodied mechanisms that ensures the reproduction or transformation of the elite social world. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Univesity of Limerick en_US
dc.subject elite schools en_US
dc.subject physical curriculum en_US
dc.subject social construction en_US
dc.title The making of “a product to be proud of”: an ethnographic examination of the role of the physical curriculum in the social construction of elite bodies and the social stratification of the elite educted student en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/doctoralThesis en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_theses_dissertations en_US
dc.contributor.sponsor IRC en_US
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US


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