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The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul's School
Shamus Rahman Khan

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"[Privilege] fills in the crucial missing piece. It's a well grounded description of the people who are the 'input' into the elite higher education system. It's a view of elite life from the 'training camp,' right before they are unleashed into American society. Highly recommended to anyone interested in stratification and education."--Fabio Rojas,

"If you want a peek inside an elite New England prep school, here it is. . . . But while nosiness about St. Paul's is a perfectly good reason to read the book, Khan's purpose is higher. This is a book about the promise of America and how well the nation is fulfilling it. It is a book that suggests how money still trumps ideals and how a myth fostered at St. Paul's and other such schools serves a new elite class. Most usefully, the book explores why racial and ethnic diversity--a challenge that St. Paul's is meeting admirably--is not synonymous with mobility and equality. . . . Full of valuable insights."--Mike Pride, Concord Monitor

"While the empirical meat of Privilege is from the United States, Canadian scholars of inequality and education will find this book useful. The ethnographic material is worth reading for its empirical contribution alone; but more importantly it also illustrates how the relative steepness of the U.S. postsecondary system contributes to enduring social inequalities."--Janice Aurini, Canadian Journal of Sociology

"Returning to his alma mater as faculty member and ethnographer, Khan offers an incisive study of the formation of a new, meritocratic elite. . . . Of utility and wide appeal to a range of academics, Khan's study is consistently engaging and of potentially enduring value."--Choice

"Essential reading for understanding today's elite. Not since Christopher Lasch's Revolt of the Elites has the meritocracy been so effectively skewered."--Austin Bramwell, American Conservative

"There are few ethnographic accounts of life in exclusive American boarding schools and Khan's book is far and away the most sophisticated among them. But the contribution of Privilege goes beyond this narrow field. Those interested in the sociology of culture, stratification, everyday life, education, race, and gender will find much to appreciate. . . . Khan is a versatile and earnest ethnographer with a sharp eye for gesture and a keen ear for dialogue."--Victoria Bonnell, Contemporary Sociology

"Privilege is a welcome addition to the sociological literature on elite prep schools. . . . This readable book provides a vivid, often elucidating, and not always pretty look at life at St. Paul's as of the 2004-05 school year."--Richard L. Zweigenhaft, Social Forces

"[Shamus Rahman Khan's] book [is an] excellent, engaging, well written, and carefully researched study of the ways culture works in and through schools."--Lisa M. Stulberg, Contexts

"Privilege is a welcome addition to the sociological literature on elite prep schools. . . . [Khan] is the narrator of this ethnography, and he is often a participant in the events he observes and analyzes. We get to know him, and he is an enjoyable and informative companion, one who is honest about the challenges he has faced."--Richard L. Zweigenhaft, Oxford Journals


"Privilege is superb. Khan skillfully narrates from the perspective of both teacher and researcher, and the personal portraits are very well-rounded. This important book is a masterly look at a disturbing current in the formation of elite American society."--Richard Sennett, author of The Corrosion of Character

"This is a terrific book. Khan's strong authorial voice and wonderful personality shine through and it is a pleasure to follow his life and travails at St. Paul's."--Michèle Lamont, Harvard University

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File created: 4/21/2017

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