An ethnographic account of identity formation in school: the role of institutional habitus

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2019
Özgün, Betül Sümeyy
This study explores the relationship between school institutional habitus and identity formation of students. The school institution engages in multi-dimensional interplay with the society. As being the product of many social structures, school also hold the power to reproduce these structures. Therefore, fieldwork departing from the interaction between school and identity formation of students progresses concerning the other structures in the region. In addition to these, the study discusses which identities are produced and reproduced through certain practices within the school institutional habitus. The study was conducted in a peripheral city of central Anatolia. The school is located in a neighborhood away from the city center and called by the local people as “village”. Fieldnotes taken during the field study, which lasted for six months, and semi-structured interviews with the students, teachers, families and school administrators constitutes the data of the study. As a result of the data analysis, 1) Institutional habitus and 2) Family habitus were emerged as two major themes. The results of this study indicated that development of the positive self-identity for the students depends on recognition of their class and cultural backgrounds by teachers and school administration. However, school’s institutional habitus collaborating with student’s family habitus strengthens a “sense of constraint” and restricts students’ positive identity formation. Besides, improvement of the school’s conditions and elimination of the problems concerning the teachers’ professional status are the problems which needs urgent action for an institutional habitus which fosters a “sense of entitlement” in both students and teachers.