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Karolina J. Dudek

Workplaces have recently faced a silent revolution. The number of desks no longer equals the number of persons working full time, and mobile laptops travel around the office with employees, as the time they spend at their desks is diminishing rapidly. Office planning and space management used to be much easier than it is now, and offices are changing rapidly: Old premises are being rearranged and new ones built according to new rules. The modern workplace is facing the challenge of an overflow of people, activities, machines, and other things. Organizations attempt to deal with this challenge by generating new coping strategies. Some of these strategies involve the application of management tools in order to make these flows visible and countable and, as a result, controllable.

in Overwhelmed by overflows?
Barbara Czarniawska

How does digital bureaucracy compare to paper bureaucracy in terms of its ‘instrumental rationality‘, efficiency, and effectiveness, as judged by both the users and the officials? Further, how well does the digital bureaucracy fulfill the function of a framing device? After all, one of the main reasons for digitalizing public sector services was the information overload caused by the increased complexity of administrative processes. Did it happen? Not really. This chapter is not an attempt to plant the seed of doubt into the belief that virtual red tape is potentially an effective way of managing document overflow. Yet that belief can cause cognitive overflow to both the bureaucrats and their customers, and the way out of it is to synchronize the “manual” management of overflow with the digital one.

in Overwhelmed by overflows?
Open Access (free)
Race, class and school choice

All in the mix: class, race and school choice considers how parents choose secondary schools for their children and makes an important intervention into debates on school choice and education. The book examines how parents talk about race, religion and class – in the process of choosing. It also explores how parents’ own racialised and classed positions, as well as their experience of education, can shape the way they approach choosing schools. Based on in-depth interviews with parents from different classed and racialised backgrounds in three areas in and around Manchester, the book shows how discussions about school choice are shaped by the places in which the choices are made. It argues that careful consideration of choosing schools opens up a moment to explore the ways in which people imagine themselves, their children and others in social, relational space.

Open Access (free)
Bridget Byrne and Carla De Tona

This chapter turns directly to the question of school choice – to examine how parents experienced the injunction to choose. It finds that, for many, the feeling that they had ‘no choice’ increased stress and anxiety around schooling. Nonetheless, the feeling of having ‘no choice’ often included a prior disregarding of some schools that their children could reasonably be expected to gain admission to. The chapter also explores what parents said about both private provision (including private Islamic schools) and state selective schools in the form of grammar schools. Approaches to school choice, including to private and selective education, also varied by area. The chapter considers the ways in which parents talked about processes of choice and focuses on one particular account of a mother living in Cheadle Hulme which shows the anxiety that trying to get the best outcome for your child sometimes produced. It shows that previous work on school choice, which tends to focus on the concerns of the professional (white) middle classes, may risk underestimating the ways in which worrying about schools and education is shared across class and ethnic differences.

in All in the mix
Open Access (free)
Bridget Byrne and Carla De Tona
in All in the mix
Open Access (free)
Negotiating with multiculture
Bridget Byrne and Carla De Tona

This chapter focuses explicitly on parents’ discussions of ethnic diversity. These are put in the context of policies around multiculturalism and integration in which schools have been a key policy site. Parents were more likely to consider diversity as something related to race or ethnicity rather than class. The chapter contends that we lack a differentiated vocabulary for discussing diversity and ‘mix’. Furthermore, there are distinct discourses around ethnic diversity circulating in the different areas, with parents in the area with the least ethnic diversity, in particular, expressing reservations and fears about increasing diversity. Parents of BME children have a particular stake in seeking out schools with an ethnic mix as they see those schools as potentially offering their children security against the racism and racialised othering which they might face in more white schools (and which the parents themselves may have experienced in their own schooling in Britain). Thus the book argues that it is critical that we consider questions of both class and race when understanding parents’ views about school choice, but that we should also be attentive to ways in which ideas and imaginations of place frame parents approaches to schooling and education.

in All in the mix
Open Access (free)
Bridget Byrne and Carla De Tona

Chapter 2 sets the scene of the three different areas in Greater Manchester of the study. It describes the areas which have distinct demographic makeup and also different profiles in terms of reputation and, as we explore, residential mobility. It also describes the methodology of the study. One of the distinctive features of this book on school choice is the located nature of the study. Interviewees talk about places and schools which we have reliable knowledge of, including the demographic makeup of the schools. This enables us to understand how those places are imagined and lived in and how the schools are understood in the broader ‘tactics’ (De Certeau 1984) of living in places. The chapter shows that, when parents talked about the areas in which they lived, issues of race and class were dealt with quite differently in the three areas, suggesting different discourses that circulated about these social categories in the contrasting locations. The chapter also shows the varied ways in which ‘elective belonging’ (Savage et al. 2005) can work.

in All in the mix
Open Access (free)
Bridget Byrne and Carla De Tona

This chapter introduces the book, exploring how the process of school choice enables the examination of how parents imagine themselves, their children and others in relational space and involves navigating ideas of social differences, particularly those which are raced and classed. It also examines how school choice is an emotional process and traces understandings of affect in relationship to race and class. It also examines the role of the state education system in producing inequalities.

in All in the mix
Open Access (free)
Bridget Byrne and Carla De Tona

This chapter explores some of the emotions stirred up in the process of choosing schools. It examines how much of parents’ talk in these areas about school choice, and in particular what they are most worried about, is structured by ideas of class and also race, even when these are not mentioned directly. It argues that undesirable schools are often characterised by their pupils in ways which suggest processes of othering. The school is assessed in part through the ways in which the children dress and behave – or sometimes how the parents behave. Thus the chapter explores how judgements made about schools are gendered, raced and classed. In these accounts, class is particularly prominent in shaping parents’ fears.

in All in the mix
Open Access (free)
Bridget Byrne and Carla De Tona

This chapter charts the rise of notions of consumer choice in the field of state education and its relationship to the changing structures of school provision. It considers how a shift towards the ‘choosing parent’ can maintain inequalities of race and class. It also addresses gaps in Bourdieusian approaches to education, particularly focusing on how racialised processes have frequently been sidelined in this literature. In considering the literature on school choice, this chapter also points to gaps in the literature, which has historically largely focused on white middle-class parents and children. Finally, it explores the importance of understanding schools as located in particular places – enabling an exploration of spatial processes of school choice. It will examine how ideas such as territorialisation and stigmatisation of space can interact with processes of school choice.

in All in the mix