Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Mary Clisbee

Committee Member

David Weintraub


Cultural biases, curriculum relevance, Eurocentrism, Racial biases, Symbolic violence, Teacher’s professional discretion


The study explores symbolic violence (SV) in school curriculum as a phenomenon that has historically been a problem for Black students in schools around the United States. Defined by Bourdieu as the legitimization of cultural and social domination of the working-class by the dominant elite, SV is expressed in curriculum through various forms, including racial and cultural exclusion of Black students from the curriculum.The literature review explored research conducted over the past few decades that address various aspects of SV and how they manifest in school curriculum. More specifically, an important segment of the literature review has focused on the extent to which SV has permeated the curriculum and how it has played a role in impeding Black students’ academic success. Using Bourdieu’s theory of practice and the critical race theory as the guiding theoretical frameworks, I investigated and analyzed the phenomenon through its characteristics and various manifestations. In total, seven teachers were interviewed for the study. The data were then coded and organized by themes. The data revealed that teachers believe that SV permeates Florida school curriculum and contributes to undermine Black students’ academic success. Additionally, the data demonstrated that beyond the curriculum, SV also permeates the testing system and the schools’ textbooks. Finally, the data revealed how teachers use their discretion to help students cope with these challenges.