Sarah Leaney
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What ‘these kids’ need
Discipline, misrecognition and resistance in an English academy school
in Inside the English education lab
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This chapter considers the impact ‘diversification’ of education through academisation has on the school as a field within which particular formations of self are produced and reproduced. Based on ethnographic fieldwork on an English council estate and in the primary school located on the estate, this chapter explores the transformation of education within neoliberal logics, where dominant discourses of responsibilisation and choice are mediated through localised constructions of community provision. It aims to foreground the processes through which the school reifies an estate culture as defined by ‘lack’ through accounts of ‘what these kids need’. The chapter argues that the narrowing conceptualisation of education within processes of academisation socially produce the body through processes of (mis)recognition. It also explores the ways in which difference is read onto the body within a social context. Through analysis of the disciplining of embodied practice within Estate Primary, the chapter considers the processes by which the bodies of the structurally de-valued carry the weight of their disadvantage. The chapter argues that the naturalisation of bodily difference within dominant accounts of ‘these kids’, results in the misrecognition of action as inaction. The chapter is located within contemporary debates thinking with and against Bourdieusian theorisations of education (Bourdieu and Passeron, 1990; Reay 2015; Thatcher et al, 2015). Building upon conceptualisations of social formations of the body (Bourdieu, 2004; Hall,1997; Skeggs, 2004) the chapter explores the social production of docile bodies (Foucault,1977) through the pedagogic practices of the primary school which construct The Estate as deficit.

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Inside the English education lab

critical qualitative and ethnographic perspectives on the academies experiment


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