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.

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.

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.

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.

Open Access (free)

Evaluating the mix

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.

Open Access (free)

Bridget Byrne and Carla De Tona

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.

Open Access (free)

All in the mix

Race, class and school choice

Bridget Byrne and Carla De Tona

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.

Abstract only

Jack Saunders

The final chapter looks at the way forms of workplace power were dissipated between 1975 and 1982. This chapter examines oral history interviews conducted at the time, as well as documentary sources, to determine why it was that some of Britain’s most ‘strike-prone’ car factories came to be declared ‘strike-free’ in the mid-1980s.

This chapter approaches this development from the perspective of the workforce and its shifting attitudes towards workplace activism and collective action, arguing that alongside wider economic and political factors, there was also a general decline in the capacity of shop-floor trade unionism to reproduce itself, as the intensity of social practices of workplace activism made mass democratic involvement increasingly difficult to sustain.

Centralisation at the beginning of the 1970s, the involvement of senior activists in workers’ participation schemes and a wider decline in interest in trade-union activism contributed to a disconnect between convenors, stewards and members, making resistance to rationalisation schemes, and then to government union legislation from 1979, increasingly difficult.

Abstract only

Jack Saunders

In the eyes of motor firms, industrial-relations experts and politicians, the industrial relations that emerged in the 1960s were extremely disruptive, imposing unplanned wage costs and generating unnecessary strikes.

The large car companies resolved to fix their problems via productivity bargaining, where pay rises would be swapped for improved efficiency and continuous production. De-centralised shop-floor bargaining would be swapped for centralised national agreements, reducing conflict.

With their sectional autonomy curtailed, car-worker activists responded by reinforcing central institutions, adding larger disputes and new tactics to their repertoire. These new forms of collective social power affected the ways that individual car workers could see the world, enabling a modest (but contested) form of politicisation to emerge.