Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education Call for Submissions

The Global Middle Class – schooling choices, educational practices and challenges for local curricula

Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education

Special Editors: Claire Maxwell, Miri Yemini, Aaron Koh, and Ayman Agbaria

There has been a broad appropriation of the theoretical existence of a distinctive social group – the Global Middle Class (GMC) (Ball, 2010) – within recent scholarship. Distinguished from transnational elites, the GMC are positioned as the service class who facilitate the functions of transnational corporations, as well as global political and financial organisations.  This social group is constructed as a set of individuals frequently ‘on the move’, across nation states, often found in global cities around the world (Ball & Nikita, 2014). Critical to this conceptualisation is that relations to ‘home’ and the ‘nation state’ become blurred, and that these individuals (and their children) become global citizens – nomadic, disconnected, belonging to ‘the world’ (Koh & Wissink, 2017).

Missing at present in the literature are empirical examinations of the existence of the GMC, and crucially how they understand their trajectories, sense of belonging, and engagements with the local. Some research (Andreotti et al., 2014; Favell, 2008) suggests that when the GMC have children – their relations to mobility and desire to become emplaced – grows.  We also know little about the schooling choice practices of the GMC.  One might assume GMC would choose ‘international schools’ so as to enable their children to move seamlessly between educational institutions as their parents remain mobile for work (Doherty, Mu, & Shield, 2009). However, some research suggests that the GMC, do at times, invest in local rather than international schooling choices (Breidenstein et al., 2018).

The proposed Special Issue seeks to understand education practices of the so-called GMC found in different parts of the world. We are seeking out submissions that empirically examine and theorise the following areas:

  • School choice-making practices more broadly;
  • Whether the increasing presence of GMC families in local schools prompts a re-thinking of curricula and citizenship education in local areas or more broadly in the global city;
  • When the GMC make more ‘local’ choices, what kinds of additional cultivation practices might they engage in to continue the cultural capital accumulation their global mobility practices have already facilitated;
  • What kinds of experiences are GMC families seeking out for their children in the different schooling choices they make?  What is their intended relationship with ‘the local’ if their children attend neighbourhood schools?
  • How in multi-religious states and societies, with the expansion of religious diasporas, GMC families may be influencing a re-thinking a ‘religious’ education.

Information for Submission


  • Submission of abstracts (approximately 400 words) for consideration by guest editors – by 15 January 2018 (please send to claire.maxwell@ucl.ac.uk).
  • Following a review of abstracts by the editorial team, selected authors will be invited to submit a full paper – authors will be alerted by end January 2018.
  • Full papers will need to be submitted by –  15 May 2018.
  • Independent peer review process to be completed by – end of August 2018.
  • Any required revisions needed based on peer review comments to be submitted by 1 November 2018.
  • Publication of special issue – October 2019.

For further information on the submission process, visit the 'Instructions for Authors' page.


Andreotti, A., Le Galès, P., Fuentes, M., & Javier, F. (2013). Transnational mobility and rootedness: The upper middle classes in European cities. Global Networks, 13(1), 41–59.

Ball, S. (2010). Is there a global middle class? The beginnings of a cosmopolitan sociology of education: A review. Journal of Comparative Education, 69(1), 137–161.

Ball, S. J., & Nikita, D. P. (2014). The global middle class and school choice: A cosmopolitan sociology. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 17(3), 81-93.

Breidenstein, G., Forsey, M., La Gro, F., Krüger, J.-O., & Roch, A. (2018) Choosing international: a case study of globally mobile parents. In C. Maxwell, U. Deppe, H.-H. Krüger, & W. Helsper (Eds.), Elite education and internationalisation: From the early years into higher education.  Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Doherty, C., Mu, L., & Shield, P. (2009). Planning mobile futures: The border artistry of International Baccalaureate Diploma choosers. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 30(6), 757–771.

Favell, A. (2008) Eurostars and Eurocities: Free movement and mobility in an integrating Europe.  Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Koh, S. Y., & Wissink, B. (2017). Enabling, structuring and creating elite transnational lifestyles: Intermediaries of the super-rich and the elite mobilities industry. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 1-18. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2017.1315509

Sassen, S. (2000). The global city: strategic site/new frontier. American Studies, 41(2/3), 79-95.