Learning difficulties and social class: exploring the intersection through family narratives
International Studies in Sociology of Education, 18, (2), . (doi:10.1080/09620210802351326).
Microsoft Word class_and_learning_difficulties_final.doc
- Author's Original
This article is concerned with the intersection between learning difficulties and social class. It also inevitably tells of the gender-class interface in relation to women's caring roles. I use the life story narratives of three mothers and a grandmother of a person with learning difficulties, together with concepts from Bourdieu, to explore the ways in which class-related capital and habitus affect their life experiences and their interactions with educational and other professionals. The data are the stories of (grand)mothers reflecting on life events, particularly in relation to decision making surrounding education, while simultaneously providing subtle, rich pictures of their socio-economic contexts. I illustrate how privilege and disadvantage are reproduced partly for the families through their institutional interactions, which are differentiated according to economic and social resources. The stories re-presented in this paper provide powerful examples of how experiences of living with learning difficulties and disabilities are situated in one's class position and how struggles for inclusion are at once common and particular.
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