The “Sense of One’s Place” in the “Social Status Game” of an Educational Expedition Group
Keywords:group dynamics, gender, Bourdieu, status processes, social justice
AbstractGroup status hierarchies can affect individuals’ experiences and groups’ outcomes in group-based Outdoor Adventure Education programs. As status is associated with perceived competence, the aim of this study was to explore the strategies used by group members to influence others’ perceptions of their competences in an educational expedition group. Drawing on ethnographic data, a Bourdieusian sociological framework was used to highlight the rationale underlying the different strategies identified. Our findings indicated that participants’ sense of place in the group status structure influenced the strategies they used to convey an image of proficiency. Configurations of differential characteristics, such as gender, age, experience and social class, played a decisive role in this regard. Men who failed to achieve the status they believed they deserved were more likely to adopt strategies that were detrimental to others. We propose ways practitioners could build on these results to improve inclusivity and equality.
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