Making It Political: Working Towards Transformation in the Study of Internationalisation of Elite Education

  • Adam Howard


This chapter draws on experiences and encounters collaborating with undergraduate student researchers and teachers, students, alumni, and administrators at an elite boarding school in Jordan involved in a multi-sited ethnography of what students learn at elite schools about themselves, others, and the world around them through global citizenship education about their place in the world, their relationships with others, and who they are. The author explores the possibilities of this collaboration in charting a justice-oriented collaborative approach that provides an epistemology for researchers and participants to challenge, contest, and transform practices reinforcing privileged ways of knowing and doing. Some limitations of this collaboration are considered to question whether such a research approach reflects social justice practice.


  1. Andreotti, V. (2010). Introduction: The political economy of global citizenship education. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 9(3–4), 307–310.Google Scholar
  2. Angod, L. (2015). Behind and beyond the ivy: How schools produce elites through the bodies of racial others (Doctoral dissertation). Toronto: University of Toronto. Retrieved from
  3. Badiou, A. (2001). Ethics: An essay on the understandings of evil. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  4. Banks, J. A. (2008). Diversity, global identity, and citizenship education in a global age. Educational Research, 37(3), 129–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brydon-Miller, M., Greenwood, D., & Maguire, P. (2003). Why action research? Action Research, 1(1), 9–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davies, C. A. (1998). Reflexive ethnography: A guide to researching self and others. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Desmond, M. (2004). Methodological challenges posed in studying an elite in the field. Area, 36, 262–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dill, J. (2013). The longings and limits of global citizenship education: The moral pedagogy of schooling in a cosmopolitan age. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Fahey, J., Prosser, H., & Shaw, M. (Eds.). (2015). In the realm of the senses: Social aesthetics and the sensory dynamics of privilege. Singapore: Springer.Google Scholar
  11. Gaztambide-Fernández, R., & Howard, A. (2013). Social justice, deferred complicity, and the moral plight of the wealthy: A response to “‘with great power comes great responsibility’: Privileged students’ conceptions of justice-oriented citizenship”. Democracy and Education, 21(7), Article 7.Google Scholar
  12. Greene, M. (1988). The dialectic of freedom. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  13. Griffiths, M. (1998). Educational research for social justice: Getting off the fence. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Hammersley, M., & Atkinson, P. (2007). Ethnography: Principles in practice. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Howard, A. (2008). Learning privilege: Lessons of power and identity in affluent schooling. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Howard, A. (2013). Negotiating privilege through social justice efforts. In C. Maxwell & P. Aggleton (Eds.), Privilege, agency and affect: Understanding the production and effects of action (pp. 185–201). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  17. Howard, A., & Nguyen, H. (in press). Privileged bonds: Lessons of belonging at an elite boarding school. In C. Halse (Ed.), Interrogating belonging for young people in schools. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  18. Howard, A., Polimeno, A., & Wheeler, B. (2014). Negotiating privilege and identity in educational contexts. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Kemmis, S., & McTaggart, R. (2005). Participatory action research: Communicative action and the public sphere. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 559–603). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  20. Kenway, J. (2015). Ethnography “is not what it used to be”: Rethinking space, time, mobility, and multiplicity. In S. Bollig, M.-S. Honig, S. Neumann, & C. Seele (Eds.), MultiPluriTrans in educational ethnography: Approaching the multimodality, plurality and translocality of educational realities (pp. 37–56). Bielefeld: Transcript.Google Scholar
  21. Kenway, J., & Fahey, J. (2014). Staying ahead of the game: The globalising practices of elite schools. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 12(2), 177–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kenway, J., Fahey, J., Epstein, D., Koh, A., McCarthy, C., & Rizvi, F. (2016). Class choreographies: Elite schools and globalization. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  23. Koh, A., & Kenway, J. (2012). Cultivating national leaders in an elite school: Deploying the transnational in the national context. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 22(4), 333–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Langmann, E. (2011). Representational and territorial economies in global citizenship education: Welcoming the other at the limit of cosmopolitan hospitality. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 9(3–4), 399–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Marshall, H. (2011). Instrumentalism, ideals and imaginaries: Theorising the contested space of global citizenship education in schools. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 9(3–4), 411–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Maxwell, C., & Aggleton, P. (Eds.). (2016). Elite education: International perspectives. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. McDonough, P. (1997). Choosing colleges: How social class and schools structure opportunities. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  28. Pashby, K. (2011). Cultivating global citizens: Planting new seeds or pruning the perennials? Looking for the citizen-subject in global citizenship education theory. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 9(3–4), 427–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Reay, D. (1998). “Always knowing” and “never being sure”: Institutional and familial habituses and higher education choice. Journal of Education Policy, 13(4), 519–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rizvi, F. (2009). Towards cosmopolitan learning. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 30(3), 253–268.Google Scholar
  31. Seidman, I. (2006). Interviewing as qualitative research: A guide for researchers in education and social sciences. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  32. Smith, A. (2013). Unsettling the privilege of self-reflexivity. In F. W. Twine & B. Gardener (Eds.), Geographies of privilege (pp. 263–280). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Stoudt, B., Fox, M., & Fine, M. (2012). Contesting privilege with critical participatory action research. Journal of Social Issues, 68(1), 178–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stoudt, B. G. (2007). The co-construction of knowledge in “safe spaces”: Reflecting on politics and power in participatory action research. Children, Youth and Environments, 17(2), 280–297.Google Scholar
  35. Stoudt, B. G. (2009). The role of language and discourse in the investigation of privilege: Using participatory action research to discuss theory, develop methodology, and interrupt power. Urban Review, 41, 7–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tandon, R. (1996). The historical roots and contemporary tendencies in participatory research: Implications for health care. In K. De Koning & M. Martin (Eds.), Participatory research in health: Issues and experiences (pp. 19–26). London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  37. Veugelers, W. (2011). The moral and the political in global citizenship: Appreciating differences in education. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 9(3–4), 473–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Weenink, D. (2008). Cosmopolitanism as a form of capital: Parents preparing their children for a global world. Sociology, 42(6), 1089–1106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Westheimer, J. (2008). On the relationship between political and moral engagement. In F. Oser & W. Veugelers (Eds.), Getting involved: Global citizenship development and sources of moral values (pp. 17–30). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  40. Žižek, S. (2012). The year of dreaming dangerously. London: Verso.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Howard
    • 1
  1. 1.Colby CollegeWatervilleUSA

Personalised recommendations