Markets, schools and the convertibility of economic capital: The complex dynamics of class choice

  • Lynch K
  • Moran M
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While economic capital is not synonymous with cultural, social or
symbolic capital in either its constitutional or organizational form,
it nevertheless remains the more flexible and convertible form of
capital. The convertibility of economic capital has particular resonance
within 'Celtic Tiger' Ireland. The state's reluctance to fully endorse
an internal market between schools has resulted in middle-class parents
using their private wealth to create an educational market in the
private sector to help secure the class futures of their children.
Using data from recent studies of second-level education in Ireland,
and data compiled on the newly emerging 'grind' schools (private
tuition centres), we outline how the availability of economic capital
allows middle-class parents to choose fee-paying schooling or to
opt out of the formal school sector entirely to employ market solutions
to their class ambitions. The data also show that schools actively
collude in the class project to their own survival advantage.

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  • Kathleen Lynch

  • Marie Moran

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