Young people’s social capital, Special Educational Needs and (Dis)ability: intersections between social, cultural, and economic capitals, education, (dis)advantage and privilege

Authors: Louise Holt*, Loughborough University, Sophie Bowlby, University of Reading
Topics: Disabilities, Social Geography
Keywords: education, segregation and exclusion, disability, Special Educational Needs
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 6:20 PM
Room: Gallier B, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper takes forward debates about the (re)production of disadvantage, advantage and privilege in the field of school level education, by focusing upon the role of Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). The paper discusses case-study research in different school settings – segregated special, mainstream and units in mainstream schools in the Southeast of England to examine the intersections between socio-economic exclusions, capitals (social and cultural). The paper focuses upon the social capital embedded in the peer social relationships of young people. We argue that young people’s social capital is connected to their cultural capital, influencing (and being influenced by) dispositions towards school. Further, the socio-spatial context of the school is pivotal to converting social relationships into cultural capital. Segregated special schools can form spaces of relative socio-economic segregation, along with segregating young people on the basis of their mind/body/emotional characteristics. Segregated special schools can offer limited opportunities to convert social and emotional capital into cultural capital. Special schools are not all the same, and much depends on their connections and networks with other schools. The experience of having SEND varies according to the cultural, social, and economic capital of young people’s families, with some young people’s parents deploying the considerable resources at their disposal to ensure their social, cultural and educational opportunities are maximised.

Abstract Information

This abstract is already part of a session. View the session here.

To access contact information login