This article is based on extensive fieldwork carried out in the most prestigious fee-paying secondary schools in Ireland. It examines the legitimation processes at play in these institutions attended by the most privileged families. In the Irish system, it is considered unjust, and it is forbidden by law, to recruit students according to academic criteria. Instead, explicit class criteria are used: these schools are expensive and prioritise candidates who have family connections with past pupils, live in the ‘right’ areas and share the school’s religious denomination. The other criteria and admission processes such as interviews and trial periods also contribute to social homogeneity. Scholars are not selected according to their academic potential either, but instead for their ‘character’, their charisma or talent for sport. Therefore class criteria, justified by notions of tradition or loyalty to a given community, override any other consideration, meritocratic or else.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Cahiers de la recherche sur l’éducation et les savoirs|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|