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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Staff Security and Civilian Protection in the Humanitarian Sector
In 2015, Action Contre la Faim launched a campaign calling on the UN to create a new post, that of a Special Rapporteur for the protection of humanitarian aid workers. Critics of the proposal claimed, inter alia, that creating such a post would imply that aid workers were a special category of civilians, worthy of protection over and above that accorded the wider population in the contexts in which they work.1 This raises an important issue which runs deeper than the campaign for a Special Rapporteur. The present article argues that, with or without such a post, the current situation is one in which humanitarian agencies treat aid workers as distinct and separate from the wider civilian population, and take significantly different measures for the safety of their staff from those they take for other civilians. For the most part, the distinction and associated differences are uncritically accepted, and this article sets out to challenge such acceptance by highlighting the nature of the differences, assessing possible explanations for the underlying distinction and considering its implications. Through this analysis, the article argues that this distinction not only reflects but also reinforces an unequal valuing of lives internationally.
A security advisor for Médecins du Monde France between 2012 and 2016, Emmanuelle Strub recalls her experience and some of the major shifts in risk management in the NGO sector in recent years. In particular, at a time of global normalisation of the aid sector, she describes her own efforts to streamline security management in her organisation: empowering field teams and, in particular, heads of mission, emphasising the crucial role of obtaining consent from the various stakeholders in the countries of intervention, and developing security trainings, crisis-management tools and a risk-management methodology. Yet, she warns, the trend today, with the advent of the duty-of-care concept, is to shift the use of risk management from enabling operations and facilitating access to populations to protecting the organisation from legal or reputational risks.
This article discusses the policy of absolute secrecy on abductions adopted by aid organisations. It argues that the information blackout on past and current cases is to a large extent a function of the growing role of private security companies in the aid sector, which promote a ‘pay, don’t say’ policy as a default option, whatever the situation. The article contends that secrecy is as much an impediment to resolving current cases as it is to preventing and managing future ones. It suggests abandoning the policy of strict confidentiality in all circumstances – a policy that is as dangerous as it is easy to apply – in favour of a more nuanced and challenging approach determining how much to publicise ongoing and past cases for each audience, always keeping in mind the interests of current and potential hostages.