ISJ Fall 2021: Book Review: Education and Elitism: Challenges and Opportunities. Conrad Hughes (2021) / James Cambridge
A problem with writing a book on this subject is that both meaning and context are slippery. What do we mean exactly when we refer to ‘elitism’? In the world of sport, elite sportsmen and women perform at the highest levels of achievement. Consequently, they obtain a large amount of support and funding to collect medals and silverware. In the political sphere, right-wing populists would have us believe that a self-serving ‘liberal elite’ runs the show. In both cases, it is claimed that positioning controls the diversion of funding and resources to favoured projects – though these may not be causes dear to the hearts of the opulist critics. Hence, there is great ambivalence towards the concept of elitism. Whilst we may applaud the achievements of elite performers in Euro 2020 football or the Olympics, elitism may be used as a pejorative term in politics.
A criticism of elite sport is that winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. In which case, what about the Corinthian spirit, that is the idea that it does not matter if a game is won or lost, when what counts is how the game is played? In other words, is it winning or taking part and playing a clean game that is important? […]