Canvassing conversations: obstinate issues in studies of elites and elite education

Adam Howard, Jane Kenway

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialOtherpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Studies of elites and elite education have largely not involved rigorous debate, either with regard to the conceptual resources deployed or methodologies adopted. Even the concepts elite and elite schools have not been problematized much. Further, there is a tendency for people to cite, rather than engage or dispute each other. So while the number of published studies increases and the field grows in size, and expands in focus, it is not necessarily growing through spirited dialog and critique. The first part of this paper considers the ways in which the methodological scope in the study of elites and elite education has been restrained and limited through the repetition of particular methodological frameworks and practices. Drawing on the work included in this special issue and other recent research, we then suggest some methodological possibilities for expanding this scope. In the second main part, we offer some provocations about the theoretical resources that are conventionally deployed. We argue that scholars need to be much more critically self-conscious about their uses of elite theories and class theories and much more aware of the ideological implications of their research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1005-1032
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2015

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