Afternoon, today’s topic will be engaging on the relationship between social stratification or socio-economic status and schooling.
Let’s begin by taking a look at SES (socio-economic status) and what it means
the total measure of an individual's or family’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education, and occupation. Examples of High SES include doctors, lawyers and engineers. Examples of low SES include cleaners, caretakers and waiters. You get the idea.
Now the main issue with social stratification in Australia is that it is often overlooked. We live in a “meritocratic” society where the idea of social advancement is determined by ability, talent ...view middle of the document...
I’d like you to think about what role education plays in regards to a person’s life chances. Does it enable them to improve their social standing and if yes, how so?
In order to do this we need to gain an understanding of the affiliation between schooling and social class. French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) and British sociologist Basil Bernstein (1924-2000) aided in explaining the complicated nature of schooling by exploring the internal workings of educational processes and how these relate to class inequality. Similar to Weber Bourdieu proposed that stratification did not only occur through economic circumstance but theorised that class structures are reliant on culture and social capital.
A research done by Reid in 2012 reflects the ways in which social and economic capital shapes the educational experiences of students. In 2010 NSW government extended the leaving school age from 15 to 17 years. As a response to this new policy students whom would have considered leaving at 15 were required to undergo vocational training thus in theory preparing them with more skills and employment opportunities before leaving school.
Reid focused on the socio-economically challenged schools in south western Sydney and what emerged was that the social capital of individuals, families and schools played a key role in determining the kinds of educational and employment pathways that were opened for these students. An example of this is the schools came to rely on parental networks and networks within the community to establish work experience opportunities for students. Infrastructure was also a limiting factor with some areas having little or no economic transport. This means students are reliant on their parent’s economic capital, whether it is having a second car or simply the time for transport them to and from training and work experience sessions beyond their locale.
I want you to take a moment to about why this has such a significant impact and what this means.
Essentially by relying too heavily on these networks, students in severely disadvantaged communities are not even the same “life chances” to succeed as others. This especially impacted on communities with new migrant populations who would not have had a well-established social network within the area. In fact within Reid’s study many parents expressed anxiety about how to find their child work experience. A very recent and relevant example is the Francis Abott Scholarship scandal where she was awarded a “chairman’s scholarship” to the value of $60,000 as Sydney Morning Herald Reporter Alex Gorman States “For Australia’s elite, favours like this – the opening of new jobs, of doors, of coffers – is a daily occurrence. This isn’t an example of the system failing…This is just what the system looks like.”
We will now observe how the culture of power affect children’s ability to perform in a school environment. Bernstein’s work explored the embedded...