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Capital, culture and community : understanding school engagement in a challenging context

Gillies, Donald and Wilson, Alastair and Soden, Rebecca and Gray, Shirley and McQueen, Irene (2010) Capital, culture and community : understanding school engagement in a challenging context. Improving Schools, 13 (1). pp. 21-38. ISSN 1365-4802

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Abstract

Engagement in learning is seen as a key to success at school. The article reports on a study into the ways in which one school has attempted to engage with its community in an area of multiple deprivation. Using Bourdieu’s concept of cultural capital, the article explores the ways in which school management aims to boost students’ embodied cultural capital as a means towards achieving academic success, and looks at the perceptions of key informants and school students on these issues. The report shows the considerable efforts schools in such areas need to expend, the economic challenges, and the difficulties and dilemmas which students often encounter in trying to negotiate the cultural divide between home and school.