Does privilege have sensory dimensions? Our guest today is Howard Prosser, lecturer at Monash University’s Faculty of Education, who recently co-edited a volume entitled In the Realm of the Senses: Social Aesthetics and the Sensory Dynamics of Privilege (Springer 2015). This volume won an honorable mention in the 2015-2016 Globalization and Education Special Interest Group book award.

Together with Johannah Fahey and Matthew Shaw, Dr. Prosser argues that “within elite schools there is a relationship between ‘complex sensory and aesthetic environments’ and the construction of privilege within and beyond the school gates. Understanding the importance of the visual to ethnography, the social aesthetics of the elite schools studied in this volume are captured through the inclusion of a series of visual essays that complement the written accounts of the aesthetics of privilege. The collection also includes a series of vignettes that further explore the sensory dimension of these aesthetics: touch, taste—though metaphorically understood— sight and sound. These varying formats illustrate the aesthetic nature of social relations and the various ways in which class permeates the senses. The images from across the different schools and their surroundings immerse the reader in these worlds and provide poignant ethnographic data of the forces of globalization within the context of elite schooling.”

Dr. Prosser spoke with FreshEd contributor Rolf Straubhaar.