© 2010

Schooling in Disadvantaged Communities

Playing the Game from the Back of the Field


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Carmen Mills, Trevor Gale
    Pages 1-11
  3. Carmen Mills, Trevor Gale
    Pages 13-27
  4. Carmen Mills, Trevor Gale
    Pages 29-41
  5. Carmen Mills, Trevor Gale
    Pages 43-53
  6. Carmen Mills, Trevor Gale
    Pages 55-72
  7. Carmen Mills, Trevor Gale
    Pages 73-87
  8. Carmen Mills, Trevor Gale
    Pages 89-103
  9. Carmen Mills, Trevor Gale
    Pages 105-120
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 121-136

About this book


Based on a study of one secondary school located in a disadvantaged community in Australia, this book provides a different perspective on what it means to ‘play the game’ of schooling. Drawing on the perspectives of teachers, parents and students, this book is a window through which to explore the possibilities of schooling in disadvantaged communities. The authors contend that teachers, parents and students themselves are all involved in the game of reproducing disadvantage in schooling, but similarly, they can play a part in opening up opportunities for change to enhance learning for marginalised students. Rather than only attempting to transform students, teachers should be also be concerned to transform schooling; to provide educational opportunities that transform the life experiences of and open up opportunities for all young people, especially those disadvantaged by poverty and marginalised by difference. The book is also designed to stimulate understanding of the work of Bourdieu as well as of a Bourdieuian approach to research. Seeing transformative potential in his theoretical constructs, it airs the possibility that schools can be more than mere reproducers of society.

Carmen Mills and Trevor Gale take up a problem that Australia keeps trying to avoid: the very unlevel playing field it has created for its schools, its teachers, its students and their parents. This book lets you see how difficult this problem is on the ground, and compels you to think about what would be a better way forward.
Professor Lyn Yates , Pro-Vice Chancellor Research from University of Melbourne, Australia

Carmen Mills and Trevor Gale make two important contributions to the sociology of education in this timely book. Through a detailed case study of one disadvantaged school – Crimson Brook Secondary College in rural Australia - they elucidate not only how inequalities are reproduced and legitimated through many of the practices of schooling, but also the possibilities for policies and practices which interrupt and destabilize such outcomes. In so doing, they also make a significant contribution to Bourdieuian scholarship in their empirically grounded and reflexive application of his ‘thinking tools’ to their case study and deconstruction of the synchronous productive and reproductive character of schooling practices.
Professor Bob Lingard, The University of Queensland, Australia


Locat Pierre Bourdieu disadvantaged communities education educational opportunities educational reform learning schooling in disadvantaged communities social justice sociology of education

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of QueenslandSchool of EducationSt. Lucia, QLDAustralia
  2. 2.National Centre for Student Equity inUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

Bibliographic information