Boarding School - Sociological Issues of Boarding Schools

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Sociological Issues of Boarding Schools

Some elite University-preparatory boarding schools for pupils from age 14 to 18 are seen by sociologists as centers of socialization for the next generation of political upper class and reproduces elite class system. This attracts families who value power and hierarchy for socialization of their family members. These families share a sense of entitlement to social class or hierarchy and power. Boarding schools are seen by certain families as centres of socialization where pupils mingle with others of similar social hierarchy to form what is called as Old boy network. Elite boarding school pupils are brought up with the assumption that they are meant to control society. Significant number of them enter political upper class of society or join financial elite in fields such as international banking and venture capital. Elite boarding school socialization instil students to internalize a strong sense of entitlement and social control or hierarchy. This form of socialization is called as “deep structure socialization” by Peter Cookson & Caroline Hodges (1985). This refers to the way in which boarding schools not only manage to control the pupils physical lives but also their emotional lives. Boarding school establishment involves controlling of behaviour regarding several aspects of life including what is appropriate and or acceptable which adolescents would consider as intrusive. This boarding school socialization is carried over well after leaving school and into their dealings with the social world. Thus it develops boarding school students to adhere to values of elite social class from which they come from or to which they aspire to be part of. According to Peter W Cookson Jr (2009) the elitist tradition of elite preparatory boarding schools has declined due to the development of modern economy and the political rise of the liberal west coast of the United States of America.

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