Orbis scholae is an academic journal published by Charles University, Prague. It features articles on school education in the wider socio-cultural context. It aims to contribute to our understanding and the development of school education, and to the reflection of teaching practice and educational policy.

ORBIS SCHOLAE, Vol 14 No 3 (2020), 33–54

If It Were Not Exceptional, We Wouldn’t Have Chosen It: Institutional Habitus of Two Nursery Schools

Lucie Jarkovská

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14712/23363177.2021.2
announced: 02. 03. 2021


Using the concept of institutional habitus, the article analyses the distinctive everyday practices in two nursery schools (privately-funded Forest nursery and publicly-funded Estate nursery). Based on data from interviews and from direct observations it explores how the habitus of both nurseries is constituted; focusing on social context of each nursery, its organizational structure, shared values and interpersonal and community relationships. Those aspects are discussed with theories of parental attitudes and styles and its consequences for social reproduction as addressed in the works of Bourdieu, Lareau, and Reay. The analysis shows that parents are hoping for similar outcomes (e.g. self-reliance) however they believe in different paths leading to those goals. Additionally, through looking at the habitually framed difference in the perceptions of discipline and social control exercised through institutional rules we illustrated how the exclusivity of private institution is constructed. We concluded, it is not just the required fee, but also the adequate level of cultural capital needed to understand the sophisticated code of rules that are framed by freedom and as voluntary. The analysis of such subtle processes is important for understanding educational inequalities and reinforcing social cohesion through education.

keywords: institutional habitus; pre-school education; parental attitudes; social reproduction; the Czech Republic

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