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Title: “I don’t want to learn” : absenteeism and socially situated cultural capital
Authors: Attard, Sharon
Keywords: School attendance -- Malta
School children -- Psychology
Education, Compulsory -- Malta
School attendance -- Statistics
Issue Date: 2020-06
Publisher: University of Malta. Faculty of Education
Citation: Attard, S. (2020). “I don’t want to learn” : absenteeism and socially situated cultural capital. Malta Review of Educational Research, 14(1), 1-21.
Abstract: Following a three-year embargo, this article represents the first in a series of publications stemming from long term ethnographic fieldwork. This paper explores how contrasting forms of cultural capital come to be valued, and considers how tension between them affects the way that children engage with schooling in a Southern Harbour town in Malta. I demonstrate how children are tasked with accumulating conflicting forms of capital, while navigating the rules of different games in co-existing fields of forces. Drawing upon 13 months of ethnographic fieldwork and participant observation in 2011-2012, with 47 students aged 8-10 years old, I argue that the school becomes a battleground between opposing forms of cultural capital, all vying for the children’s appropriation, yet not within equal reach. Children’s disengagement from school, and occasional attempts at reintegration, must be located within a socially situated understanding of the compelling (though not determining) social forces at play, within which children find alternative and culturally accessible ways to construct themselves as persons of value.
Appears in Collections:MRER, Volume 14, Issue 1
MRER, Volume 14, Issue 1

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