The wrong sort of capital? Bangladeshi women and their children's schooling in Birmingham, U.K



Blackledge A (2001) The wrong sort of capital? Bangladeshi women and their children's schooling in Birmingham, U.K. International Journal of Bilingualism, 5 (3), pp. 345-369.

The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, to present the findings of a study of Bangladeshi women's relations with their children's school in Birmingham, U.K., and the ways in which languages and literacies were regarded at thresholds of power between the minority-culture women and the dominant-culture institution. Second, to consider the insights which the work of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu affords in analyzing the power structures evident in minority-culture parents' access to their children's schooling. The paper develops from a four-year research project which investigated home and school literacies of Bangladeshi children and their families in Birmingham, U.K. As part of the study, the mothers of 18 six-year-old Bangladeshi children were interviewed about their children's learning, their attempts to support this learning, and their communications with the school about this process. The children's teachers were also interviewed, about the role of parents in their children's learning. The home-school literacy process was a site at which the reproduction or renegotiation of power between dominant and minority groups became visible. The analysis makes clear that the Bangladeshi women were marginalized by structures of power which dictated that those with cultural and linguistic capital which was different from that of the majority-culture school were unable to gain access to information about, or support with their children's schooling.

Capital; empowerment; minority parents;

International Journal of Bilingualism: Volume 5, Issue 3

FundersUniversity of Birmingham
Publication date01/09/2001
Publication date online01/09/2001

People (1)


Professor Adrian Blackledge

Professor Adrian Blackledge

Professor in Education, Education