Vol 26 No 21

23 October 2016


Middle class privilege is more than material

23 October 2016 | Sonia Nair

Child gets a leg-up from 'cultural capital' as they try to climb a wall. Cartoon by Chris JohnstonSocial theorist Pierre Bourdieu posited the disturbing finding that academic underperformance in lower-class students could be traced back to their lack of cultural capital, defined as 'familiarity with the dominant culture in a society, and especially the ability to understand and use 'educated' language''. According to Bourdieu, the mainstream education system assumes a certain level of cultural capital and as a result, educators speak in a manner that is only understood by a privileged few.


Spin counts more than facts in SA wind farm dispute

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20 October 2016 | Greg Foyster

StormOn 28 September an extreme storm lashed South Australia and the entire state lost power. How could this have happened? It's a question that has occupied the country for the last three weeks as politicians and commentators have peddled their unqualified opinions in an escalating culture war about the role of renewable energy. No one really knew what had happened until Wednesday this week, when the AEMO released its updated report. Even now, there are more questions than answers.


Flagging patriotism in a divided world

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20 October 2016 | Gillian Bouras

Greek flag on mountainsideBefore I turned five, I was in the serried Monday morning ranks of children who had to swear, among other vows, to honour the flag. Years later I watched, shocked, as a Greek friend burst into tears at the sight of the emblematic blue and white stripes at a soccer match: big, strapping Panayiotis sobbed helplessly for quite some minutes. Today the American elections are almost upon us, and Old Glory has naturally been very much in evidence throughout this most gruelling and worrying of campaigns.