Elite Girls' 21st Century Schooling in Scotland: Habitus Clive in a Shifting Landscape


Forbes J, Maxwell C & McCartney E (2021) Elite Girls' 21st Century Schooling in Scotland: Habitus Clive in a Shifting Landscape. British Journal of Educational Studies, 69 (3), pp. 287-306.

Our paper analyses data from four Heads of elite fee-charging girls’ schools in Scotland, focusing on how two social landscape changes - changing pupil demographics and pressures on schools’ charitable status – may have reshaped the schools’ institutional habitus. Following Bourdieu, we examine this question through the concept of habitus clivé. Shifting national-scale demographics and institutional pressures to fill expensive pupil places has generated a more diverse student population both in terms of academic ability and cultural background. Maintaining charitable status has, in turn, involved opening their space to non-school others, and developing interactions with the broader community. Insights are offered on how, despite these significant changes, schools’ current habitus commitments continue to align with their founding principles, while also adapting to these new contextual realities, as they seek to ensure their girl pupil subjects can succeed in the 21st century.

elite fee-charging girls’ schools; habitus; institutional habitus; habitus clivé

British Journal of Educational Studies: Volume 69, Issue 3

Publication date31/12/2021
Publication date online07/09/2020
Date accepted by journal16/08/2020