Introduction: Reading the dynamics of educational privilege through a spatial lens
Elite schools are contentious institutions and elicit intense debate. They are seen to either represent schooling’s gold standard and to produce highly educated luminaries who rightfully take their places at the apogee of all the institutions that matter. Or they are seen as socially isolated, luxury enclaves that breed and feed privilege and power and entrenched educational and social inequality and division. No matter where one stands in relation to such debates it is difficult to disassociate ‘privilege’ from elite schools. To ask in what ways elite schools are privileged invariably attracts predictable replies. They express privilege, it is frequently argued, through their high fees and thus their wealthy clientele, the grandeur of their grounds and buildings, their state-of-the-art learning facilities, their curricula and extracurricular range, their legions of famous alumni, and their powerful connections to elite universities and other significant institutions. And the list goes on especially when the focus shifts beyond such material and symbolic facets of privilege; what Daloz (2010, p. 94) calls “vicarious display”. For then we get into the subtleties that researchers have been teasing out for some time. They show, not just how privilege is material and materialised, but how it is produced through an intricate array of practices, which adjust, over time, to suit changing economic, socio-cultural, and geo-political circumstances.
Elite Schools: Multiple Geographies of Privilege
Education not elsewhere classified