Racial capitalism and the ordinary extractivism of British elite schools overseas

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This article focuses on the relationship between elite British boarding schools and the overseas branches (‘satellites’) that they have established around the world. While British schools are categorised as charities, the satellites are operated as commercial ventures through subsidiaries. The UK-based schools can thus profit from the export of their ‘brands’, extracting capital from their satellites overseas and channelling it back to the UK. Drawing on interviews with staff of these satellite schools and on documentary analysis (including Charity Commission reports), we use the lens of racial capitalism to analyse the relationships between British elite schools and their overseas branches. We argue that through their overseas operations, British elite schools engage in extractive practices and are complicit in processes of enclosure and dispossession. These processes are premised along racialised lines and ultimately ensure that the promised ‘British eliteness’ remains out of reach for those who subsidise its social reproduction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-449
Number of pages18
JournalDiscourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education
Issue number3
Early online date5 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2024


  • British international schools
  • Elite schools
  • extractivism
  • racial capitalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Linguistics and Language


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