Introduction: Local Classes, Global Influences—Considerations on the Social Aesthetics of Elite Schools

  • Johannah FaheyEmail author
  • Howard Prosser
  • Matthew Shaw
Part of the Cultural Studies and Transdisciplinarity in Education book series (CSTE)


Drawing on MacDougall’s notion of social aesthetics, the Introduction explores the sensory dimensions of privilege through a global ethnography of elite schools. Within these elite schools, all of which are based on the British public school model, there is a relationship between their ‘complex sensory and aesthetic environments’ and the construction of privilege within and beyond the school gates. While ethnography has been a popular methodology within education research, the Introduction shows how another qualitative approach is developed by studying the social aesthetics of privilege through the extensive use of images. Understanding the importance of the visual to ethnography, the social aesthetics of these elite schools are captured through the inclusion of a series of visual essays that complement the written accounts of the aesthetics of privilege. The Introduction also discusses the inclusion of a series of vignettes that further examine the sensory dimension of these aesthetics: touch, taste—though metaphorically understood— sight and sound. These varying formats illustrate the aesthetic nature of social relations and the various ways in which class permeates the senses.


Class Class Aesthetic Judgment Photograph Photograph Elite School Village School 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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