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Title: "We don't need the state" : a study of the habitus formation process, through school choice, in the Peru's rising middle class
Author: Gutiérrez, Maria Pilar Sanz
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 1954
Awarding Body: University of Bath
Current Institution: University of Bath
Date of Award: 2014
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This research investigates the reasons why there is so little public expenditure on education in Peru at a time when the economy has been growing very rapidly. Although different possible causes have been identified, the study focuses on the role played by Peru´s rising middle class (RMC) with its increasing opting out of state services in education as a complementary hypothesis. Drawing on the multilevel explanatory scheme proposed by Bourdieu, who makes explicit the connections between system properties, the nature of habituated dispositions to act held by social members, and the effective practices they adopt (Nash 2010), the study explores how the disposition (habitus) to assume individual responsibility in the provision of education services has been formed in a sample of RMC families that have chosen private schools for their children. I argue that the structures of RMC life, specifically their historical relationship with the Peruvian state characterized by its weak and exclusionary practices, the political and economic neoliberalism that has prevailed in the last decade, has influenced the adoption of the RMC´s rejection of state education through the incorporation of a dominant „common sense‟ in relation to the withdrawal of the state as guarantor of education provision, and this social group‟s view of itself as self-enterprising citizens. The research found that the assumption of this RMC position has also been strongly influenced by the rapid transformation of this rising sector characterized by upward social mobility, where the preference for private schools strengthens their position within a highly segmented social hierarchy. A diverse range of conceptual tools are utilised mainly from Bourdieu´s theoretical framework, with habitus as the central explanatory concept and its interaction with the concepts of capital and field, for a better understanding of school choice and class formation processes. Likewise, the research explores the potential of the Foucauldian approach to structuring subjectivities, expressed in his concept of governmentality, to explain the effect of the prevalence of a neo-liberal discourse in the construction of habitus. The study is qualitative using discussion groups and in-depth interviews with a sample of Peruvian RMC parents in order to explore the habitus formation process. An intergenerational perspective that takes into account the narratives of educational trajectories of RMC grandparents, parents and children offers a unique opportunity for a dynamic study of the process of structuring and re-structuring of habitus for education provision that shows relative malleability throughout this group‟s trajectory. In turn, the use of a comparative approach regarding two fractions of the rising group allows us to arrive at an understanding of the field as a whole.
Supervisor: Lauder, Hugh Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available