© 2011

White Middle-Class Identities and Urban Schooling


Part of the Identity Studies in the Social Sciences book series (IDS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Diane Reay, Gill Crozier, David James
    Pages 11-22
  3. Diane Reay, Gill Crozier, David James
    Pages 23-43
  4. Diane Reay, Gill Crozier, David James
    Pages 44-60
  5. Diane Reay, Gill Crozier, David James
    Pages 61-81
  6. Diane Reay, Gill Crozier, David James
    Pages 82-100
  7. Diane Reay, Gill Crozier, David James
    Pages 101-123
  8. Diane Reay, Gill Crozier, David James
    Pages 145-162
  9. Diane Reay, Gill Crozier, David James
    Pages 163-167
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 168-201

About this book


This book examines experiences and implications of 'against-the-grain' school choices, where white middle class families choose ordinary and 'low performing' secondary schools for their children. It offers a unique view of identity formation, taking in matters like family history, locality and whiteness.


children democracy Familie Habitus identity methodology methods occupations school schooling

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of CambridgeUK
  2. 2.Roehampton UniversityLondonUK
  3. 3.University of the West of EnglandBristolUK

About the authors

Author Diane Reay: Diane Reay is Professor of Education at the University of Cambridge, UK. She has previously published Activating Participation: Parents and Teachers Working Towards Partnership (co-edited with Gill Crozier).

Bibliographic information


Society for Education Studies Book Prize 2012 Winner - Runner-up

'The production of this beautifully crafted and important book adds to what we know of education policy in practice and brings complex and fresh evidence to the setting of school choice, class and lived social identity. This work will be a major reference point for sociological theory and policy in practice for some time to come.' - Meg Maguire, Journal of Education Policy

'This book focuses on the persepctives of white middle-class parents who make 'against'-the-grain school choices for their children in urban England. It provides key insights into the dynamics of class practising that are played out in these choices and the multiple narratives and contexts that influence them.' - Dympna Devine, British Journal of Sociology of Education

'This magnificent book...will command widespread interest.' - Mike Savage, British Journal of Sociology of Education

'This book will be of interest to education and social policy researchers, sociologists, education professionals and indeed left-leaning white middle class parents.' - Nicola Ingram, British Journal of Sociology of Education

'A thoughtful and very interesting analysis by a talented group of researchers.' - Professor Annette Lareau, University of Pennsylvania, USA

'White Middle Class Identities and Urban Schooling is a very important book. Looking at class practices and habitus as linked to family and schooling, the authors unpack the ways in which choice of secondary school is increasingly linked to the forging of social structure. In so doing, they bring the ability of the middle class to erect boundaries both symbolically and geographically into a new era of social class construction, while instantiating increasingly widespread choice of secondary school for one's children as a key and pivotal site for class formation and contestation. This is a 'must read' for anyone interested in contemporary class formation.' Professor Lois Weis, Graduate School of Education, University at Buffalo, USA