Choosing Private Compulsory Schools: A means for class distinctions or Responsible Parenting?

Auður Magndís Auðardóttir, Sonja Kosunen

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelVetenskapligPeer review


This study aims to explore the social and ethnic background of pupils admitted to private schools at the compulsory level in Iceland so as to identify possible social class segregation between public and private schools. Additionally, we examine how parents reason their choice of private education for their children. Bourdieu’s concepts of capital, symbolic power and distinction are used to think through our findings. Data consist of descriptive statistics and interviews with parents. Our findings show that many of the private schools attract privileged parents, but that this is contingent upon the schools’ geographical location. Parental discourse links good behaviour and ambition with the private schools, while simultaneously labelling the public schools as failing. Parents who align with the intellectual fraction show signs of experiencing a moral dilemma over their choice. Overall, our findings suggest that to some extent, private schools serve as a tool for educational distinction.
TidskriftResearch in Comparative and International Education
Sidor (från-till)97-115
Antal sidor19
StatusPublicerad - juni 2020
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


  • 516 Pedagogik

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