Developing the notion of teaching in ‘International Schools’ as precarious: Towards a more nuanced approach based upon ‘transition capital’

Adam Poole, Tristan Bunnell

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This paper is a response to a recently published article in this journal entitled ‘Precarious privilege: personal debt, lifestyle aspirations and mobility among international school teachers’ by Rey, Bolay, and Gez (2020. “Precarious Privilege: Personal Debt, Lifestyle Aspirations and Mobility Among International School Teachers.” Globalisation, Societies and Education, 1–13. doi:10.1080/14767724.2020.1732193). In this follow-up paper, we take the notion of ‘precarious privilege’ as the starting point for theorising an emerging concept derived from our recent research into teachers’ experiences of turnover in the field of International Schooling. We call this concept ‘transition capital’, which encompasses a newer ‘positive sociology’ approach, imagining the social reality of being a teacher in an International School setting as being a mixture of both the negative and positive. We believe that the concept of ‘transition capital’ complements the notion of ‘precarious privilege’ by recognising the paradoxical nature of the teacher experience. It also attempts to go beyond it by showing how the positive and the negative are dialectical in nature. We also seek to flesh out the burgeoning concept of ‘transition capital’ by explaining its origins in the notion of ‘resilience capital’ and sketching a future research agenda.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-297
JournalGlobalisation, Societies and Education
Issue number3
Early online date10 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • International schools
  • global middle class
  • international school teachers
  • precarity
  • transition capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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