Repository logo

Schools, cultural mobility and social reproduction: the case of progressive discipline

Faculty Advisor




cultural capital, cultural mobility, class reproduction, Progressive Discipline, school discipline, partial compensation theory of education

Abstract (summary)

Drawing on a case study of Progressive Discipline (PD), this paper asks: How does greater discretion, flexibility and parent involvement affect the application of school policy? What are the consequences of these conditions? PD is part of a suite of changes that caters to students’ individualized academic and social needs while formalizing increased parent involvement. Drawing on forty-four interviews with school staff members, we find that PD has the potential to enhance students’ social and behaviour literacy. And yet, educators are unable to fully tame higher-SES (Socio-Economic Status) parents. According to our interviewees, higher-SES parents are more likely to participate in disciplinary proceedings, confront and threaten school staff and negotiate more favourable disciplinary outcomes for their children. Our paper contributes to cultural capital theory by examining how higher-SES families exploit “discretionary spaces” (i.e., opportunities that allow parents to improve their child’s social, academic or disciplinary outcomes) in schooling organizations.

Publication Information

Milne, E. and J. Aurini. (2015). “Schools, Cultural Mobility, and Social Reproduction: The Case of Progressive Discipline.” Canadian Journal of Sociology, 40(1), 51-74. Retrieved from



Item Type





All Rights Reserved