Fields, Habitus and the International Baccalaureate’s Interpretation of International Mindedness

David Whitmarsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


International Mindedness (IM) is recognised as being a key component of an international education (Hill, 2015). However, IM is also acknowledged as an ‘under-reported and under-researched aspect of elite [international] education’ (Bunnell et al, 2020). This has led to the concept being described as ‘enigmatic and under-defined’ by researchers (Poole, 2017) and ‘fuzzy’ by practitioners (Barratt-Hacking et al, 2016: 38). This paper will attempt to conceptualise IM by drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s theories of fields and habitus. It will show that IM can not only be thought of in terms of a specific habitus but that the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the schools that offer International Baccalaureate programmes can, and do, also play a significant role in creating the field (and subsequent structures within the field) in which IM can take root in students. The data and analysis in this paper are taken from a more substantial, recent, mixed-methods case study focusing on IM. The case study was conducted in a Chinese IB international school (of the type described by Poole, 2019: catering largely for Chinese students) on the Chinese mainland that offers the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme and Diploma Programme. It is a private fee-paying school, which accepts students mainly from the local but also from the expatriate community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-138
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Research in International Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2022


  • China
  • Fields
  • Habitus
  • International Baccalaureate
  • International Education
  • International Mindedness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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