A Phenomenological Study of Habitus at an Elite International School

  • Callum Philbin

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


This is a phenomenological study of privileged education and the role it plays in social reproduction within the context of an elite international school. The project is based on interviews with sixteen adolescents completing the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. A qualitative study through narrative methods enables the participants to offer a portrait of their perspectives on the habitus of their school in Central Europe. The research examines social group-making in this transnational setting to explore global class hierarchies. Current political and historical dynamics can be viewed within this space in an interdisciplinary manner to demonstrate how this impacts the social relations of these students. These global flows will be considered within the narratives that the participants offer on their class groupings in order to consider the international school as a space for cultural exchange. There is complexity to the social class making that is taking place there, and this study aims to explore this social organisation to better recognise how international schools establish students as a ‘global elite’. This research will focus on this social reality of the under-researched domain of international education by allowing students to express their stories about how they conceive of their privileged schooling.
Date of Award27 Apr 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorHugh Lauder (Supervisor), Mary Hayden (Supervisor) & Aline Courtois (Supervisor)


  • International Education
  • Education
  • International Schools
  • Elite Education
  • Social Capital
  • Cultural capital
  • social reproduction theory
  • global citizenship

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