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Disparities in academic achievement: Assessing the role of habitus and practice

TitleDisparities in academic achievement: Assessing the role of habitus and practice
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsEdgerton, J. D., Roberts L. W., and Peter T.
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Pages303 - 322
Keywordsacademic achievement, bourdieu, gender, habitus, practice, socioeconomic gradient, socioeconomic status

Bourdieu's theory of cultural and social reproduction-with its core concepts cultural capital, habitus, practice and field-is a leading account of the intergenerational persistence of educational inequality. Although numerous studies examine the relationship between class, cultural capital and academic outcomes, and some focus on gender differences in cultural capital, few attempt to operationalize Bourdieu's accompanying concepts of habitus and practice, and to consider gender differences along these dimensions. The present study addresses these gaps by examining a "structure-disposition-practice" model of the relationships between family socioeconomic status (SES), sex, habitus, academic practices, and academic achievement using multilevel Canadian data. findings of SES and gender differences in the model offer qualified support for the potential of Bourdieu's framework to help increase our understanding of class and gender disparities in educational outcomes. Results suggest that habitus, practice and the "structure-disposition-practice" model are not only theoretically sophisticated, but also empirically sustainable and that future efforts to more precisely measure the model's concepts and relationships are warranted

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