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Transforming the educational style of the working class in Poland

The article presents the impact of the introduction of lower secondary schools on the educational style of the working classes in Poland. This particular reform is seen as one of the elements of change to the education system adapting it to the general parameters of post-Fordism. The author supports the theory of Pierre Bourdieu, which states that society is divided into three social classes (upper, middle and popular) and each of them produces a specific lifestyle and style of education. The education style of a class provides individuals with certain dispositions to educational institutions and school careers, which are realised in the form of social practices (selection of specific type of schools, learning techniques, ways of spending time, etc.). The changes taking place in the education system in Poland over the last 15 years, i.e. since the 1999 reform, are similar to processes that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s in western countries. They include the economisation of education, the parameterisation and quantification of educational results, as well as the introduction of market mechanisms for managing and financing state-owned schools. The article is based on individual in-depth interviews conducted during two field studies organised in 2013–2014: Cultural practices of the working class (120 IDIs) and Class differences in cultural practices in the North-Eastern Poland (60 IDIs). The findings become the basis of formulating new theoretical and research proposals for the field of education.

Przemysław Sadura, Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw


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