Bourdieu, subcultural capital and risky girlhood

Bullen, Elizabeth and Kenway, Jane 2005, Bourdieu, subcultural capital and risky girlhood, Theory and research in education, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 47-61, doi: 10.1177/1477878505049834.

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Title Bourdieu, subcultural capital and risky girlhood
Author(s) Bullen, ElizabethORCID iD for Bullen, Elizabeth
Kenway, Jane
Journal name Theory and research in education
Volume number 3
Issue number 1
Start page 47
End page 61
Publisher Sage
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2005
ISSN 1477-8785
Keyword(s) Bourdieu
subcultural capitals
Summary It is a contention of the culturalist strand of underclass theory that the growth of the underclass is not a function of social and economic change, but of features intrinsic to underclass culture. Children born into disadvantaged communities, it is argued, are socialized into the ‘deviant’ culture of their families, families typically headed by single mothers. According to the underclass thesis, daughters of such families will face a heightened risk of leaving school early and teenage pregnancy. An unanticipated correlation between claims of the underclass thesis and the cohort of mothers and daughters with whom we are working on a current project has led us to ask, ‘how do we acknowledge the culture of disadvantaged communities and their generational synergies, whilst avoiding the pernicious implications of the underclass thesis?’ To answer this question, this article assesses
the merits of bringing Bourdieu’s ideas on cultural capital together with Sarah Thornton’s concept of subcultural capital. The article concludes with two examples of how we might draw on these ideas as a way of exploring the means by which girls in difficult economic circumstances understand and pursue their school lives.
Notes The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Theory and Research in Education, 3/1, 2005, © Sage Publications by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Theory and Research in Education page: on SAGE Journals Online:
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/1477878505049834
Field of Research 160809 Sociology of Education
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2005, Sage Publications
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