In the Realm of the Senses

Social Aesthetics and the Sensory Dynamics of Privilege

  • Johannah Fahey
  • Howard Prosser
  • Matthew Shaw

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Jane Kenway
    Pages 27-29
  3. Johannah Fahey
    Pages 57-65
  4. Johannah Fahey
    Pages 87-97
  5. Johannah Fahey
    Pages 99-100
  6. Johannah Fahey
    Pages 129-135
  7. Cameron McCarthy, Heather Greenhalgh-Spencer, Koeli Goel, Chunfeng Lin, Michelle Castro, Brenda Sanya et al.
    Pages 137-169
  8. Matthew Shaw
    Pages 171-172
  9. Johannah Fahey
    Pages 191-202
  10. Howard Prosser
    Pages 203-204
  11. David MacDougall
    Pages 205-207
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 209-211

About this book


This book charts new territory both theoretically and methodologically. Drawing on MacDougall’s notion of social aesthetics, it explores the sensory dimensions of privilege through a global ethnography of elite schools. The various contributors to the volume draw on a range of theoretical perspectives from Lefebvre, Benjamin, Bourdieu, Appadurai, Kress and van Leeuwen to both broaden and critique MacDougall’s original concept. They argue that within these elite schools there is a relationship between their ‘complex sensory and aesthetic environments’ and the construction of privilege within and beyond the school gates.

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 collection also includes a series of vignettes that further explore 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. The images from across the different schools and their surroundings immerse the reader in these worlds and provide poignant ethnographic data of the forces of globalisation within the context of elite schooling.


David MacDougall Education and Visual Methodologies Elite Schools Class Analysis Elite Schools and Social Class Elite Schools and globalisation Social Aesthetics and Visuality Sociology of Elite Schooling

Editors and affiliations

  • Johannah Fahey
    • 1
  • Howard Prosser
    • 2
  • Matthew Shaw
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Bibliographic information