White Middle-Class Identities and Urban Schooling

White Middle-Class Identities and Urban Schooling

Paperback Identity Studies in the Social Sciences

By (author) Diane Reay, By (author) Gill Crozier, By (author) Dr. David James


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  • Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan
  • Format: Paperback | 216 pages
  • Dimensions: 138mm x 214mm x 16mm | 280g
  • Publication date: 13 September 2013
  • Publication City/Country: Basingstoke
  • ISBN 10: 1137355018
  • ISBN 13: 9781137355010
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: 3 black & white tables
  • Sales rank: 652,915

Product description

Decades of neo-liberal reforms have established a market in secondary schooling, where 'choice' and 'diversity' are expected to drive up standards and maximize individual responsibility. This is known to favour middle class people. But what of those middle classes deliberately choosing ordinary and even 'low performing' secondary schools for their children? What are their motives, and how do they experience the choice? What is it like for the young people themselves? Where do they end up? And what does all this show us about contemporary white middle class identity and its formation? This groundbreaking study, now in paperback and with a new Preface, offers some answers to these questions. Based on detailed fieldwork with parents and children, it examines 'against-the-grain' school choices, looking in particular at family history, locality, the nature of 'choice' itself and associated anxieties, relationships to other ethnic groups and to whiteness, and the implications for democracy. The book highlights an inescapable acquisitiveness but also more hopeful dimensions of contemporary white middle class identity.

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Author information

Diane Reay is Professor of Education at the University of Cambridge, UK. She has previously published Activating Participation: Parents and Teachers Working Towards Partnership (co-edited with Gill Crozier). Gill Crozier is Professor of Education at Roehampton University, UK. She has previously published Parents and Schools: Partners or Protagonists? and Activating Participation: Parents and Teachers Working Towards Partnership (co-edited with Diane Reay). David James is Professor and Director of the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Centre, Cardiff University, UK. He has previously published Bourdieu and Education, The Creative Professional and Improving Learning Cultures in Further Education.

Review quote

Society for Education Studies Book Prize 2012 Winner - Runner-up 'This magnificent book...will command widespread interest.' - Mike Savage, British Journal of Sociology of Education 'The production of this beautifully crafted and important book adds to what we know of education policy in practice - and brings complex and fresh evidence to the setting of school choice, class and lived social identity. This work will be a major reference point for sociological theory and policy in practice for some time to come.' - Meg Maguire, Journal of Education Policy 'This book focuses on the perspectives of white middle-class parents who make 'against'-the-grain school choices for their children in urban England. It provides key insights into the dynamics of class practising that are played out in these choices and the multiple narratives and contexts that influence them.' - Dympna Devine, British Journal of Sociology of Education 'This book will be of interest to education and social policy researchers, sociologists, education professionals and indeed left-leaning white middle class parents.' - Nicola Ingram, British Journal of Sociology of Education 'This book reports on a well-conceived and executed project on school choice with a strong theoretical framework, adding to the literature on social class and education...It is the voice of the parents that is the major contribution of the book, and this comes across in many nuanced and carefully presented extracts from the extensive and numerous interviews conducted with them'. - British Journal of Educational Studies 'A thoughtful and very interesting analysis by a talented group of researchers.' - Professor Annette Lareau, University of Pennsylvania, USA 'A very important book...This is a 'must read' for anyone interested in contemporary class formation.' - Professor Lois Weis, Graduate School of Education, University at Buffalo, USA

Table of contents

Acknowledgements Preface Introduction: The White Middle Classes in the Twenty-First Century - Identities Under Siege? White Middle Class Identity Formation: Theory and Practice Family History, Class Practices and Habitus Habitus as a Sense of Place Against-the-Grain School Choice in Neoliberal Times A Darker Shade of Pale: Whiteness as Integral to Middle Class Identity The Psychosocial: Ambivalences and Anxieties of Privilege Young People and the Urban Comprehensive: Remaking Cosmopolitan Citizens or Reproducing Hegemonic White Middle Class Values? Reinvigorating Democracy: Middle Class Moralities in Neoliberal Times Conclusion: Appendix 1: Methods and Methodology Appendix 2: Parental Occupations and Sector Appendix 3: The Sample Families in Terms of ACORN Categories References