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Digital DivisionsHow Schools Create Inequality in the Tech Era$
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Matthew H. Rafalow

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226726557

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226726724.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 24 July 2021

Disciplining Play

Disciplining Play

(p.44) 2 Disciplining Play
Digital Divisions

Matthew H. Rafalow

University of Chicago Press

This chapter shows how teachers discipline students’ digital play, variably dismissing it or activating it for achievement depending on the race and class of their student body. Existing work argues that middle and upper class parents provide their children with cultural resources that better position them than working class students to get ahead in class. But in these schools, all children share similar digital know-how as expressed through their digital play. Despite these similarities, teachers discipline the value of digital play differently by school. At Heathcliff Academy, the school serving mostly wealthy, White students, teachers see students’ digital play as innovative and important to learning. Teachers then discipline students’ play—activities like social media use, video gaming, and digital media creation—by making these pursuits count for achievement in day-to-day classroom life. At Sheldon Junior High, the school serving mostly middle class, Asian-American students, teachers see students digital play as threats to learning; teachers then discipline students’ play by punishing students when they pursue it at school. At César Chávez Middle School, the school serving mostly working class, Latinx students, teachers see students digital play as irrelevant to learning; teachers discipline play by dismissing it as irrelevant.

Keywords:   cultural capital, digital literacies, Pierre Bourdieu, cultural inequality, digital play, social media, social reproduction, race, social class, racism

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