When belonging becomes belonging: A Bourdieuian theorisation

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In this article, I offer an ontological theorization of belonging. The article interrogates the quality of belonging from a Bourdieuian perspective by critiquing exclusion generated from psychological or biological discourses; I aim to question the way that ‘belonging’ is applied in a technical or an emotional sense within the field of inclusive education. The article works towards offering a new theorization that does not treat the meaning of belonging as deterministic. The paper argues that if belonging is a way of addressing concern for
ourselves as human beings, then deepening the theoretical understanding of this concept will add to how we practice the complexity of inclusive education based on the Whole Schooling perspective. By articulating Bourdieu’s framing of belonging, it is possible to enable inclusive professionals and families to view conceptions of belonging outside the familiar
derivatives applied in everyday discourse. In addition, quality belonging provides the framework for how human relations can be strengthened for inclusive schooling and inclusive society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-16
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Whole Schooling
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • Belonging
  • Bourdieu
  • Inclusion
  • Equity

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