Contexts of cultural capital in collaborative practice in further education.

BAKER, Robert Patrick. (2012). Contexts of cultural capital in collaborative practice in further education. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

This study explores ownership and manifestations of cultural capital (Bourdieu 1984) demonstrated by a sample of lecturers in the UK Further Education ('FE') sector and the influence this has on cross-college collaborative practice. The research was conducted at three colleges in the English Midlands in 2010-11 employing a researcher-as-bricoleur approach (Kincheloe 2002). Knowledge explaining inhibitor or activator mechanisms involved in collaborative working is essential if the sector is to gain from the opportunities of innovative problem solving afforded by communities of practice (Wenger et al. 2002). The significance of this knowledge is amplified when considered against the background of efficiency pressures resulting from funding cuts to FE proposed in the Government's 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review. The study found the types and magnitude of lecturers' cultural capital and the patterns of its deployment should act, in the main, as enablers for collaborative practice. Despite their middle-class professional status lecturers tend to exhibit popularist to middlebrow cultural affinities. The minority of practitioners who possessed 'highbrow' cultural capital tend to classify as cultural omnivores rather than exhibiting traits solely associated with univores (Peterson 1992, Peterson and Kern 1996). Few lines of cultural cleavage were found, with one notable exception. There was evidence of antipathy resulting from dislocations of capital owned by lecturers delivering Higher Education programmes in the FE environment and their predominantly FE line managers and FE lecturer colleagues. The asset value of cultural capital is depressed in comparison to more valuable 'organisational knowledge' capitals, for example an understanding of college bureaucratic practice and procedure. Deployment of high cultural capital where it might be exchanged for status tends to be suppressed. There was evidence of strong enthusiasm for collaboration, possibly due to the tolerance of the cultural omnivore (Erickson 1996), but Homo Actificivm is encountering significant obstacles to cross-college working: physical isolationism, the precarite of job insecurity (Bourdieu 1998a), andrestrictions imposed by inter-departmental competition within college. The thesis argues that to promote innovative collaborative practice Further Education colleges should rebalance the emphasis in their accommodation strategies to give more of an equal weighting to staff provision as they do for students. In the light of the findings, wherever possible, colleges should consider enlarging staffrooms and providing additional cost-efficient informal social network spaces for their staff organised around the optimum 'Dunbar number' (Dunbar 1992) in order to catalyse 'community'. The lecturer 'species' Homo Artificium is contrived from the study's results. Its name, etymologically from the Latin 'artificium', encompasses the notion of skill, ability and opportunity. It attempts to encapsulate FE's raison d'etre that of the UK's "Lifelong Learning and Skills Sector". The characteristics of the species are dissimilar to a distant relative, Homo Academicus, postulated by Bourdieu (1984b) following his research into the cultural capital possessed by Parisian university academics [pun intended]. My interpretation of Homo Artificium is depicted on the bookmark.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (Ed.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2012.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:18
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2018 10:03
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19306

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