chapter  13
7 Pages

Swimming against the tide: liberal parents and cultural plurality

This is an extract from an ethnographic study that examined the concept of cultural capital in relation to the educational aspirations and experiences of pupils in an urban first school where 40 per cent of the pupils were Asian (the majority of these being British-born of Pakistani Muslim parents), and the remainder of the children were White British children. One aspect of the study focused on the treatment of cultural diversity by the school staff, and in particular, the ways in which they perceived, and responded to, the relationship between the children's various home cultures and the culture of the school. This extract describes the teachers' and parents' perceptions of controversy that arose when the White parents were required to relinquish some of their power and influence in the school in order to accommodate the wishes of the Asian parents.