The legitimation of privilege in Chilean elite schools: From social responsibility to the discourse of merit
Chilean elite schools have historically been spaces to ensure the homogeneity and intergenerational reproduction of privileged groups. This article presents a part of the results of an ethnographic research in two elite schools, aimed to answer how each one understands and legitimizes their privileged position. The results show how both institutions deal with privilege in different ways. In the first case, through its educational project, the school seeks that students understand themselves as privileged, and its legitimation is through involving them with the country's social problems as a “hallmark” of the school’s identity. The second school understands and legitimizes the privilege through processes of resignification, conceiving it as merit. The article then suggests a broader way of thinking about the transmission of privilege, where it is necessary to contemplate the dynamics of differentiation of the establishments in market contexts and also the socio-educational correspondence between the types of projects, the strategies and the internal divisions in the elites.