'Independent' in Scotland: Elite by education?

Joan Forbes, Gaby Weiner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


A central sociological question has been how to understand the ways in which privilege is reproduced by and through education. A key difficulty for such work has been the limited possibilities for conducting research in institutions that successfully transmit power and privilege. This chapter seeks to examine this question through a focus on private and elite schooling in Scotland, both historically and in current times. The chapter opens with an initial discussion of what it means to be ‘elite’ in Scottish education. This is followed by a review of the literature on Scottish private and elite schooling. The role played by the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh is highlighted since fully one quarter of the city’s pupils attend private schools. Discussion then turns to the Scottish Independent Schools Project (SISP), and its research into capitals, power, space, gender and reflexivity, in order to identify the specific practices and processes around elite schooling in Scotland.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElite Education
Subtitle of host publicationInternational perspectives
EditorsClaire Maxwell, Peter Aggleton
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781315755984
ISBN (Print)9781138799592, 9781138799615
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2015


  • elite
  • national elite education systems
  • elite social groups
  • sociology of elites
  • sociology of education
  • education policy
  • education and international development


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