Elite Private Secondary Education in Greece: Class Strategies and Educational Advantages

Author: Despoina Valassi
Institution: University of Crete, Greece
Year of publication: 2012
Source: Show
Pages: 21-41
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/kie.2012.06.02
PDF: kie/92/kie9202.pdf

Too little attention has been paid to the school institutions intended to educate and socialize the children of the upper classes. Greece has a significant history of private educational institutions. Yet their history and role within the educational system and society has been consistently neglected. The study of elite private education and its relationship with the social reproduction of the upper and middle classes in Greece has been even more neglected. Through a study of elite private secondary schools, following the theoretical model of Pierre Bourdieu, we explored the relationship that the middle and upper social strata of Greek society maintain with specific private schools. In order to determine the above, we conducted a quantitative field survey at 13 well-known private schools in Athens, using a questionnaire. In these schools we find considerable over-representation of the social categories that are placed at the summit of the social hierarchy. A basic argument of our study was that different sections of the middle and upper classes develop different educational strategies to ensure their social reproduction and to increase their privileges. These different strategies adopted by traditional and more recently emerging social classes are reflected in the differences among the elite private schools as a “field” and they distinguished the very top private schools from the less prestigious one. Also, we have found that sections of the Greek upper and middle class provide their offspring, through certain schools and activities, with an international capital which is a necessary condition for their future participation in international educational and professional markets. The study’s central research methodology included geometrical data analysis such as correspondence analysis.


  • Baltzell D., Philadelphia Gentlemen. The Making of a National Upper Class, New Jersey–New Brunswick 2002.
  • Bartholomew D.J., Steel F., Moustaki Ir., Calbraith J.I., The Analysis and Interpretation of Multivariate Data for Social Scientists, New York 2002.
  • Bourdieu P., The Forms of Capital, in J.G. Richardson, Handbook for Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, New York 1986.
  • Bourdieu P., Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, Cambridge 1987.
  • Bourdieu P., Wacquant L., An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology, Chicago 1992.
  • Bourdieu P., The State Nobility: Elite Schools in the Field of Power, Cambridge 1997.
  • Cookson P.W., Persell H.C., English and American Residential Schools: A Comparative Study of the Reproduction of Social Elite, “Comparative and International Education Society” 1985, No. 3, Vol. 29.
  • Goffman E., Asylums, New York 1961.
  • Katsillis J., Rubinson R., Cultural Capital, Student Achievement, and Educational Reproduction: The Case of Greece, “American Sociological Review” 1990, No. 2 (April), Vol. 55.
  • Lewis L., Wanner R., Private Schooling and the Status Attainment Process, “Sociology of Education” 1979, Vol. 52 (April).
  • Macdonald K., The Sociology of the Professions, London 1995.
  • Maloutas Th., Middle Class Education Strategies and Residential Segregation in Athens, “Journal of Education Policy” 2007, No. 22.
  • Maxwell J., Maxwell M., The Reproduction of Class in Canada’s Elite Independent Schools, “British Journal of Sociology of Education” 1995, No. 2, Vol. 16.
  • Panayotopoulos N., Une école pour les citoyens grecs du monde: les enjeux nationaux de l‘international, “Regards Sociologiques” 2000, Vol. 19.
  • Porter J., The Vertical Mosaic. An Analysis of Social Class and Power in Canada, Toronto 1965.
  • Swartz D., Culture and Power: The Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, Chicago 1997.
  • Valassi D., Choosing a Private School in the Greek Education Market: A Multidimensional Procedure, http://www.unige.ch/fapse/ggape/programme/progsamedi14/Valassi2.pdf, 2009 [access: 10.12.2012].
  • Wagner A.C., Les nouvelles elites de la mondialisation. Une doree en France, Paris 1998.
  • Weenink D., Cosmopolitan and Established Resources of Power in the Education Arena, “International Sociology” 2007, No. 4, Vol. 22.
  • Weinberg I., Some Methodological and Field Problems of Social Research in Elite Secondary Schools, “Sociology of Education” 1968, No. 2 (Spring), Vol. 41.
  • Wilkinson R., Gentlemanly Power. British Leadership and the Public School Tradition: A Comparative Study in the Making of Rulers, New York 1964.

correspondence analysis international capital field class strategies social reproduction elite schools Pierre Bourdieu private schools Education

Message to:



© 2017 Adam Marszałek Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Projekt i wykonanie Pollyart