The elite nature of International Schooling: A theoretical framework based upon rituals and character formation

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The well-established yet under-theorised body of ‘Traditional International Schools’ warrant much greater sociological analysis and inquiry as ‘elite’ educational institutions. This paper uses Basil Bernstein’s Sociology of the School to discuss the ‘expressive culture’ of such schools, representing an idealised model of conduct, character and manner. The role of rituals in transmitting this culture is discussed by applying Randall Collins’ Interaction Ritual Chain Theory showing how every-day festivals and fundraising events (commonly conceptualised as forming the ‘Five Fs’) can help build up positive emotional energy, which can be used to facilitate action, and embed the expressive culture. Maurice Halbwachs’ concept of Collective Memory is then used to show how interaction rituals can deliver a permanent group recollection, essential for enduring class solidarity and cohesion. Overall, an introductory and coherent theoretical framework for identifying a Sociology of International Schooling is presented, focusing on what aspects of the schooling experience make it an attractive and elite, privileged one.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Studies in Sociology of Education
Early online date2 Jul 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jul 2020

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