CASE Social Exclusion Seminars
Children’s Life-histories In Primary Schooling [CLIPS]: Persevering in exclusion?
Eleanore Hargreaves (Institute of Education, University College London)
Wednesday 16 June 2021 16:30 - 18:00
Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.
Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.
Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.
About this event
This presentation explores the experiences of children designated as ‘lower-attaining’ in British primary schooling. It draws on Nancy Fraser’s (2008) conceptualisation of a global shift from government via nation-state welfare structures to governance through supra-national financialised neoliberalism. Within this context, we investigate how and why ‘lower-attaining’ children persevere with hard work at school despite neoliberalism’s ‘cruel and cynical fiction’ of social mobility (Owens and de St Croix, 2020). We illustrate how weak claims are for schooling’s role in promoting social mobility, with reference to sociological research. Our vivid portrayals of children’s own words highlight how perseverance none-the-less becomes attached to their interpellated neoliberal conceptions of individual responsibilisation, which encourage children to persevere despite poor future prospects and poor experiences in schooling. Our extended interviews with 23 children over two years provide data that suggest these children fostered little desire for ‘social mobility’. They therefore experienced loneliness and blamed themselves for being inadequate in a system that assumed social mobility – via ‘higher-attainment’ - as their aspiration. Their narratives evidenced fear and humiliation as common components of their schooling experiences, to which they responded with compliance or anger. We propose that both of these impacted negatively on their creativity and collaboration within schooling.
Listen to a recording of the event: