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Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul's School [Format Kindle]

Shamus Rahman Khan

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Présentation de l'éditeur

As one of the most prestigious high schools in the nation, St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, has long been the exclusive domain of America's wealthiest sons. But times have changed. Today, a new elite of boys and girls is being molded at St. Paul's, one that reflects the hope of openness but also the persistence of inequality.

In Privilege, Shamus Khan returns to his alma mater to provide an inside look at an institution that has been the private realm of the elite for the past 150 years. He shows that St. Paul's students continue to learn what they always have--how to embody privilege. Yet, while students once leveraged the trappings of upper-class entitlement, family connections, and high culture, current St. Paul's students learn to succeed in a more diverse environment. To be the future leaders of a more democratic world, they must be at ease with everything from highbrow art to everyday life--from Beowulf to Jaws--and view hierarchies as ladders to scale. Through deft portrayals of the relationships among students, faculty, and staff, Khan shows how members of the new elite face the opening of society while still preserving the advantages that allow them to rule.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1239 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 245 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0691156239
  • Editeur : Princeton University Press (28 décembre 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004K1F6P4
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°224.236 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Amazon.com: 4.0 étoiles sur 5  25 commentaires
37 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Fascinating glimpse behind the scenes 26 février 2011
Par Dr. Cathy Goodwin - Publié sur Amazon.com
I love reading books that take us behind the scenes where we're normally barred from entry. And I've often envied people who got the boarding school experience. So... what's life really like at an elite school?

One of the most elite, of course, is St. Paul's Academy. Author Khan attended as a student, then returned as a faculty member and ultimately a participant-observer in an ethnographic study. The result is a book that's enjoyable - especially specific scenes - but less enlightening that one would hope. Mostly I would have liked to see a clearer organization, either chronologically with the school year or thematically. I also didn't get a clear sense of the author's premise. He seems to demonstrate that the "elite" learn how to behave or are reinforced in appropriate behavior, by both students and faculty. In particular, the school emphasizes norms of appearing "at ease" and confident.

My frustration with this book is that it's somewhere between sociology and memoir. I can't help comparing it to P.F. Kluge's book about returning to Kenyon College as a professor, over 20 years after his own graduation. Kluge shared the experiences of being at Kenyon; one of the most memorable is his chat with a colleague, a single woman who was headed home to a lonely dinner.

Khan tries to draw insights from observations. One good example involves a dialogue between a "Mrs. Brown" dorm leader and a student "Evan" who was showing off his knowledge about St Paul's just a few hours after arriving. Khan observes that the adult (presumably a faculty member) cleverly put down the young man.

We get less sense of what actually happens in classes, art studios and athletic fields. I'd have liked to get a sense of a typical day in the life of a student. Khan mostly analyzes conversations, which can be valuable but incomplete. In particular we don't hear the dark side. In one example he says a boy will be severely punished" for insulting a younger boy, but we are never told what that implies or why some students seem to ask for trouble. Similarly, we hear about a hazing incident among the girls but never learn what happened to them. Were boys and girls finding ways to be intimate (with consequences)? Were any students bringing illegal substances on campus?

I would also like to see more sociological interpretations of observations. Khan shares his surprise when students seem indifferent to the vast offerings on campus. Famous people visit. A wealthy alumnus offers to fly students to New York to attend an opera. Yet it's possible the students lack a context; in my own college days, a deadline often seemed more important than anything else.

Khan seems strangely baffled by the ritual of a certain couch where only seniors - sixth formers - were allowed to sit. I was surprised when he asked students why the couch was so important; many schools have similar places that are seniors-only. Up through the 1950s (and maybe later) some colleges did too. But I did like the way he talked about students who learned to take their place and I'd have liked to see a stronger discussion there.

Khan's discussion of work habits was both enlightening and baffling. He notes that many students take short cuts; they read the Spark Notes for Beowulf, for instance. Few seem to study during the 4-hour official study time. Yet somehow they learn analytical skills and go on to excel. How?

Minority students, Khan observes, work harder and resist shortcuts. I was reminded of Claude Steele's excellent book - Whistling Vivaldi - that explains some of these examples in terms of stereotypes.

Bottom line: I'd definitely recommend the book. Although I believe it could have delivered even more, the final product is (like St Paul's students) well above the norm.
14 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A story that needed to be told 7 avril 2013
Par Kindle fan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This is an excellent ethnographic study (conducted in a top boarding school) of how the contemporary elite constructs its relationship to the world. A central argument of the book is that, with the death of the class movement and the rise of the individuality cult, elite status is now presented as a personal achievement rather than a consequence of inherited privilege. This stance is false and Khan proves why, in crystal clear writing. Many of us intuitively know already that the apple does not fall far from the tree. However, even if one is not 100% convinced by the book's material, or feels that no generalizations can be drawn from a study of a single school, however in-depth, the debate on inequality is a vital one - so many thanks to the author for keeping it alive.
22 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Engaging, Accessible and Compelling 10 janvier 2011
Par Rudi E. Batzell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Privilege is one of those rare and invaluable books that not only makes important scholarly contributions to the sociology of education and the social reproduction of elites, but also provides an accessible and engaging view of one of the most pressing issues of American society in the early 21st century: increasing inequality in an age of apparently more open educational access.

Privilege is written with poise and humor, bringing to life the students and teachers of St. Paul's, as Khan untangles the complexity of the social processes of an elite boarding school. At a moment when education is in certain respects more open, with ethnic and racial minorities and women increasingly present in elite institutions, Privilege illustrates how those who already have the most make sure their children have even more through access to institutions like St. Paul's School, reproducing inequality and class division in American society in new, more transparent, and supposedly more 'democratic' forms. With economic inequality dramatically on the rise since the 1970s, and with educational credentials playing an ever more important role in gaining access to the most lucrative and rewarding forms of work and compensation, Privilege arrives just in time to spark a much needed discussion of the intersection of wealth, inequality and education.

A masterpiece of ethnography, Privilege will be well used in introductory sociology classes as a compelling methodological demonstration, not only showing how careful observation and analysis can lead to sociological insights, but doing so with a topic that should be challenging and exciting to a broad array of undergraduate students. But it's accessibility to undergraduates and the broader reading public should not obscure the serious scholarly arguments Khan develops. Building on the insights of Pierre Bourdieu, Khan expands and deepens our understanding of how "ease" becomes embodied in the habitus of the elite, making hierarchies appear natural and inequality seem inevitable.

Privilege is a profoundly thoughtful, careful and engaging exploration of inequality in American society. The young elites and their educators at St. Paul's School come to life as full and sympathetic characters in Khan's narrative, breaking through the flattening statistical analyses of inequality used in much of the social sciences. An important and searching book, Privilege deserves a large audience, both within sociology departments, but even more so, beyond the walls of the academy, as the American people confront an increasingly unequal society.
9 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 exposes the language and invisible structures of the American elite 30 janvier 2013
Par Tracey Porter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Fascinating and illuminating. Since adopting the posture of ease, inclusion, and "hard work" the elite don't question their superior status.
12 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 How Privilege is Passed Through the Generations 22 février 2012
Par Marco Antonio Abarca - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
In "Privilege-The Making of an Adolescent Elite:, Shamus Rahman Khan investigates how elite status is passed down from one generation to the next. Obviously, the passing of family wealth from parent to child is the principle way that elite status is transferred. Yet, in a world of high inheritance taxes and a dynamic domestic economy, family wealth can only get you so far. Khan argues that the most important thing an elite parent can pass to a child is entree into elite culture. He argues elites have a special way of "being and knowing" and that boarding schools are an especially good place to learn that culture.

Shamus Rahman Khan is a graduate of St. Paul's School and it was to his old school he returned as a teacher for one year. Armed with his graduate studies in sociology, Khan attempted to better understand the transference of elite status that took place over the course of four years. As a participant/observer Khan was well placed to carefully study the school's closed society. I found "Privilege" to be well written and his arguments to be solidly made. Khan's book beautifully illustrates the return for investment that comes with the boarding school education. "Privilege" is a thought provoking book and a pleasurable read. Highly recommended.
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