Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Education Program


M. Adam Howard

Second Advisor

Adrian Blevins


Very little attention has been given to how schools provide students with opportunities to accumulate advantaging forms of cultural capital through the arts. This project explores the arts as valuable forms of cultural capital and the role the arts play in the production of elites. Because it is widely acknowledged that when researching elites access may be limited, the research for this project was conducted online through publically accessible documents, like curricula, mission statements, facilities, extra-curricular offerings, and additional arts programming on school websites. The eight schools in this study reside in four different, elite towns, and there are both public and private schools in each town. By researching elite schools in elite communities, this project moves beyond the typical binary of public versus private schools and creates a community-centric conversation to better understand how both public and private schools function to produce specific students. The findings of this research reflect that the arts serve the elites and serve to reproduce and reinforce ones elite status. Through these findings, it is seen that all students in American schools should have an increased access to the arts to subsequently increase his or her opportunity to accumulate advantaging forms of cultural capital.


Arts, Elite Schools, Education, Cultural Capital, Institutional, Private Schools