International Education and Social Distinction: The consumption of British private schools by elite Nigerian parents

Ayling, Pere (2014) International Education and Social Distinction: The consumption of British private schools by elite Nigerian parents. Doctoral thesis, University of Essex.

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This thesis analyses the factors that shape Nigerian elite parents’ decisions to consume private boarding schools in Britain. It draws on literature from the sociologies of education and consumption and applies Bourdieu’s concepts of the habitus, field, and capital together with Fanon’s colonisation theory. The research was carried out in Nigeria (Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt) and in Britain. The project used qualitative methods, principally semi-structured interviews. Through a non-probability snow-balling sampling framework, a total of 39 participants were recruited. 26 were parents, all of whom reside in Nigeria, and 13 were ‘gatekeepers’; consisting of education agents and consultants, head-teachers of British private secondary and primary schools in Nigeria and Britain, including senior staff at Deputy High Commission in Lagos.

The data reveals that the parents in this study are seeking a type of ‘quality education’ that is only accessible to the privileged few and one that they believe will mark their children out as ‘cultured’, ‘modern’, ‘moral’ and ‘distinguished’ individuals by instilling in them western dispositions, deportments and lifestyle. These parents define ‘quality’ in education in terms of ‘exclusivity’, ‘authenticity’ and ‘whiteness’. The gatekeepers who help to shape parents’ perceptions of, and access to, private boarding schools in Britain use similar definitions themselves. In an increasingly competitive international education market, the data shows that these gatekeepers use these terms to construct and ‘sell’ British private boarding schools as ‘world-class’ and elite education establishments and maintain their brand image at the same time.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Department of Young People & Education
Depositing User: Pere Ayling
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2017 09:01
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 09:01

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