Middle‐class struggle? Identity‐work and leisure among sixth formers in the United Kingdom

Kehily, Mary Jane and Pattman, Rob (2006). Middle‐class struggle? Identity‐work and leisure among sixth formers in the United Kingdom. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 27(1) pp. 37–52.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01425690500376721

Abstract

This paper explores the ways in which sixth-form students in Milton Keynes negotiate their identities and the symbolic significance they attach to leisure activities in the process of doing this. The paper draws upon qualitative, young-person-centred interviews with sixth formers in state and private schools. We address the investments of sixth formers in constructing themselves as autonomous individuals and argue that they do so from a position of middle-class subjects-in-the-making. Through an inversion of Willis' (1977) (focus, our concern is to make explicit the implicitly middle-class identities sixth formers were forging. We argue that the identity-work of sixth formers plays a part in the reproduction of school-based class inequalities by pathologising working-class students while constructing themselves as bourgeois liberal individuals.

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