Neoliberal policy and the meaning of counterintuitive middle-class school choices

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James, D. ; Reay, D. ; Crozier, G. ; Beedell, P. ; Hollingworth, S. ; Jamieson, F. ; Williams, K. (2010)

This paper considers how the nature and effects of neoliberal policy in education are illuminated by the outcomes of a study of white middle class families choosing ordinary state secondary schools in England. Having described the main features of the study and some of its findings, consideration is given to specific ‘global’ dimensions – one in terms of parental perceptions and the other drawing upon analysis of the global effects of neoliberalism, an example of which is illustrated with reference to an influential UK policy. We conclude that the conditions so generated not only provide advantages to those making conventional choices in keeping with a marketised service, but that they may also bring advantages to middle class families making ‘counter-intuitive’ choices as well.
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