What the Blazers? The effect of cultural symbols on class identity and learning outcomes


  • Trevor William Lovett


This paper examines the relationship between school clothing and learning identity. The paper, part of a wider, qualitative, narrative investigation into the learning experiences of white, working-class baby-boomers males, argues that an individual’s preference for types of school clothing contributes to the construction of his/her cultural and social identity. It is suggested that items of school clothing influence an individual’s either solidarity with, or distance from, school practices and peers. Cultural capital, habitus, cultural evolution and meme theory are used to understand the effects of school uniforms on individuals’ identity construction and learning outcomes. It is suggested that embodied performance not only has the potential to reflect a student's masculine competence (Connell, 2009) but it can also symbolize the individual's understanding of physical attractiveness and intelligence. Keywords: Baby-boomer education, masculinities, school clothing, cultural capital, cultural evolution, identity, individual agency