Foregrounding Parents As Players in Meritocratic Competition

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 08:30-10:20
RC04 Sociology of Education (host committee)

Language: English

This session is interested in the growing agency exercised by parents in optimising school experience and achievement. Sociology of education has long recognised the underlying relationship between family background, parent disposition, and a child's school trajectory. In this sense, parents and the home have always been in the background. However, we are interested in the conditions now cultivated under processes of individualisation (Beck, 2000), responsibilization (Rose, 2004), credential inflation (Brown, 2001), hidden privatization (Ball and Youdell, 2008) and neoliberal marketization more generally. These agendas demand more conscious strategy from parents, urging them to exercise choice and discretion, judging quality on their own terms. To date, attention has been paid to the professional middle class’s curation of educational opportunity for children (Crompton, 2008: Lareau, 2011; Vincent, 2009) and to less established fractions of the middle class (Windle, 2015). This session will broaden the gaze, inviting papers interested in the multiple ways in which all parents, across class positions, are being mobilised to act in their children’s interests. This may be through voucher schemes, as school governors, through school satisfaction surveys, purchasing private tutoring, or appealing placement decisions. Does this foregrounding of parents’ agency erode mutual trust (eg Silova, 2009), placing teacher-parent relations on a more suspicious footing than as partnership? Greater scope for parent agency also foregrounds parents’ normative theories about what education ‘should’ be. These logics are being accorded more weight in the cultural politics of education. What does what this mean for the expert knowledges of teaching professionals?
Session Organizers:
Karen DOOLEY, Queensland University of Technology, Australia and Catherine DOHERTY, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
Oral Presentations
The Strategies of Parent-Teachers in Provincial Brazil: Mobilisation for Academic Success and Personal Fulfilment in the Context of Socially Segregated Schooling
Marlice NOGUEIRA, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto - UFOP, Brazil; Joel WINDLE, Fluminense Federal University, Brazil
The Intergenerational Transmission of Parental Involvement in Education: Evidence from British Data Spanning over Three Generations
Katherin BARG, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom; William BAKER, Cardiff University, United Kingdom
‘Concerted Cultivation’ in a Confucian Context: A Study of Volunteer Mothers in Taiwan
Shiuh-Tarng CHENG, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan