Home > Publications > Schools and Families: Reproduction of Class Hierarchies through Education in Pakistan

Schools and Families: Reproduction of Class Hierarchies through
Education in Pakistan

Hazir Ullah1 and Johar Ali2

Abstract
Children‟s expectations of education and career are largely determined by
their early educational influence and family socio-economic backgrounds. There is a
long history of sociological research in the Western world that recognizes the impact
of educational system and family socio-economic background on the reproduction of
class hierarchies. With an insight from the studies in the Western world, this
paper examines the possible effects of educational settings (multiplicity of school
systems) and social class backgrounds on the reproduction of social class inequalities
in Pakistan. The paper uses, and analyses data obtained from class 9 and 10 students
(aged 15-16) of three distinct educational settings (public schools, elite private schools
and ordinary private schools).Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu‟s theory of social and
cultural reproduction, the study finds that the three types of school constitute distinct
fields of education and provide a different schooling experience to their students. The
findings also indicate that both school type and family-based endowments (cultural
capital) train the elite and professional middle-class children to make up places at the
top of the economy and condition working class children to accept their lowly status
in the class structure.

Keywords: cultural capital, habitus, class hierarchies, social reproduction,
educational settings