Language and cultural reproduction in Malawi

Unpacking the relationship between linguistic capital and learning outcomes

Shunsuke Nishioka, Naureen Durrani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper applies Bourdieu’s cultural reproduction theory to household survey data in Malawi to engage with emerging debates regarding the relationship between language and equitable education. Logistic regression analysis is used to: i. explore the reproduction of social class in education through the lens of linguistic capital; and ii. investigate different effects of linguistic capital between sub-groups in order to draw out policy implications. Both family background and linguistic capital have significant positive effects on learning outcomes, and linguistic capital mediates the reproduction of social class. Lack of linguistic capital appears to particularly disadvantage pupils from lower social classes and in non-Chichewa-speaking districts. The study findings highlight multiple implications for policy, practice and research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages1
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Research
Volume93
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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Malawi
linguistics
social class
language
learning
household survey
speaking
pupil
education
regression analysis
logistics
district
lack
Group

Cite this

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abstract = "This paper applies Bourdieu’s cultural reproduction theory to household survey data in Malawi to engage with emerging debates regarding the relationship between language and equitable education. Logistic regression analysis is used to: i. explore the reproduction of social class in education through the lens of linguistic capital; and ii. investigate different effects of linguistic capital between sub-groups in order to draw out policy implications. Both family background and linguistic capital have significant positive effects on learning outcomes, and linguistic capital mediates the reproduction of social class. Lack of linguistic capital appears to particularly disadvantage pupils from lower social classes and in non-Chichewa-speaking districts. The study findings highlight multiple implications for policy, practice and research.",
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