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Playing with power: An ethnographic exploration of habitus formation in Swedish elite schools
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study follows students from two Swedish elite upper secondary schools with different profiles when they participate in a parliamentarian role-play game. The game lacks a teacher authority and is not a graded activity, putting the students in a position where they must negotiate what constitutes winning and losing. The game is used as an ethnographic site to investigate what it means to be a ‘successful’ elite school student and how it is embodied. The aim is to explore concrete processes of habitus formation, extending the knowledge regarding elite socialization in the Swedish case. The findings suggest that the game puts notions of what it means to be a ‘successful’ student to its head, giving rise to conflicts between students from the two differently profiled schools. The conflicts articulate differences between schools within the elite school category with regard to student formation. Further, the game singles out a few students and make them feel entitled to become leaders. The study shows that the intersection of students’ school affiliation, gender and social class background is important in order to understand whether they feel entitled or not, as well to understand their more encompassing experiences in this elite school game.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 52 p.
Keyword [en]
elite school, habitus, formation, gender, social class, socialization, role-play game, Sweden, elitism, egalitarianism
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-133928OAI: diva2:973775
Available from: 2016-11-02 Created: 2016-09-22 Last updated: 2016-11-02Bibliographically approved

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