Introduction: local classes, global influences—considerations on the social aesthetics of elite schools

Johannah Fahey, Howard Prosser, Matthew Shaw

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Drawing on MacDougall s notion of social aesthetics, the Introduction explores the sensory dimensions of privilege through a global ethnography of elite schools. Within these elite schools, all of which are based on the British public school model, there is a relationship between their complex sensory and aesthetic environments and the construction of privilege within and beyond the school gates. While ethnography has been a popular methodology within education research, the Introduction shows how another qualitative approach is developed by studying the social aesthetics of privilege through the extensive use of images. Understanding the importance of the visual to ethnography, the social aesthetics of these elite schools are captured through the inclusion of a series of visual essays that complement the written accounts of the aesthetics of privilege. The Introduction also discusses the inclusion of a series of vignettes that further examine the sensory dimension of these aesthetics: touch, taste-though metaphorically understood - sight and sound. These varying formats illustrate the aesthetic nature of social relations and the various ways in which class permeates the senses.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIn the Realm of the Senses: Social Aesthetics and the Sensory Dynamics of Privilege
EditorsJohannah Fahey, Howard Prosser, Matthew Shaw
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9789812873491
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameCultural Studies and Transdisciplinarity in Education
ISSN (Print)2345-7708


  • Aesthetic Judgment
  • Class Class
  • Elite School
  • Photograph Photograph
  • Village School

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