Elite Schooling and Social Inequality

Privilege and Power in Ireland's Top Private Schools

  • Aline Courtois

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Aline Courtois
    Pages 1-25
  3. Aline Courtois
    Pages 27-46
  4. Aline Courtois
    Pages 47-68
  5. Aline Courtois
    Pages 69-93
  6. Aline Courtois
    Pages 95-123
  7. Aline Courtois
    Pages 125-155
  8. Aline Courtois
    Pages 157-189
  9. Aline Courtois
    Pages 191-203
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 205-227

About this book


This book is the first significant sociological study of Ireland’s elite private schools. It takes the reader behind the gates of these secretive institutions, and offers a compelling analysis of their role in the reproduction of social inequality in Ireland. From the selection process to past pupils’ union events, from the dorms to the rugby pitch, the book unravels how these schools gradually reinforce exclusionary practices and socialize their students to power and privilege. It tackles the myths of meritocracy and classlessness in Ireland, while also providing keys to understanding the social practices and legitimacy of elites. By bringing out the voices of past pupils, parents and school staff and incorporating vivid ethnographic descriptions, the book provides a rare snapshot into a privileged world largely hidden from view. It offers a unique contribution to research on elite education as well as to the broader fields of sociology of education and inequality. As such, it will appeal to researchers, practitioners and the general public alike, in Ireland and beyond. 


education human rights quality social inequality social justice social science

Authors and affiliations

  • Aline Courtois
    • 1
  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Education
  • Print ISBN 978-1-137-52276-4
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-52277-1
  • Buy this book on publisher's site