Citizens and/or Consumers: Mutations in the Construction of Meanings and Practices of School Choice
University of Roehampton
Journal of Education Policy, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 171-189, 2010
Recent research on school choice highlights the tendency among some White, middle-class parents to engage with discourses of community responsibility and ethnic diversity as part of their responsibility and duty as choosers and who therefore exercise choice in ways that undercut the individualistic and self-interested character framing governmental discourses and rationalities around choice. This paper contributes to these debates through making visible the ways in which some mothers articulate and combine meanings and practices of choice that register contrasting and sometimes contradictory notions of active and responsible parenting. Drawing on data from a group of mothers of diverse social class and racial backgrounds, I explore how some mothers negotiate their school choice around a number of intersecting positions and relations that work across, as well as within, formulations of public - private, collective - individual, citizen - consumer, political - commercial. Through a consideration of the relationships in practice between these diverse elements, this paper questions the analytic value of distinctions between citizen and consumer, community and individual as framings for understanding the motivations and aspirations shaping some mothers’ school choices.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: neoliberalism, governance, education policy, cultural studies, social policyAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 28, 2011 ; Last revised: July 25, 2012
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