An Investigation of Bourdieu’s Theory of Habitus Using Home-Education

Hannah Beasley


Historically, social theorists, such as Pierre Bourdieu, have theorised class as an outcome of institutionalised education. However, since the 1980s and the growth of neoliberalist ‘laissez-faire’ attitudes to the market, home-education has emerged as an educational option outside of institutions. This paper examines whether home-educated individuals have a conception of self, taste and habitus, or whether such notions of selfhood are limited to schooled individuals. This paper contends that although many of Bourdieu’s analyses could be developed when conceptualising home-education, ultimately home-educated individuals are outside traditional notions of class. The home-educated are perhaps an example of a new reflexive conception of selfhood which is necessary in a neoliberalist society. Home-education highlights the need for a new kind of individual, a reflexive, changeable subject which can adapt to the needs of the free market.

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