Keynote 1 Professor Gill Crozier

From middle-class social reproduction to collective critical consciousness (conscientization): Parents as agents of their children’s education through democratic, collective participation. Is this a fantasy or a potential reality?

In parts of Europe and the Anglo­phone world parental involve­ment in schools and edu­ca­tion has tak­en on an unhealthy inten­si­ty. Dri­ven by indi­vid­u­al­i­sa­tion and the glob­al com­pe­ti­tion of seek­ing ‘world lead­ing’ edu­ca­tion per­for­mance, governments/policy mak­ers have raised their expec­ta­tions of par­ents as providers of school-ready chil­dren, primed to per­form in the height­ened exam stakes that face them on a reg­u­lar basis. Pri­vate tutor­ing after school and the var­i­ous indi­ca­tors of ‘con­cert­ed cul­ti­va­tion’, togeth­er with an increase in ‘par­ent­ing class­es’ and an empha­sis on ‘respon­si­bil­i­sa­tion’ are now the norm in many soci­eties. In this lec­ture I will dis­cuss these devel­op­ments and their impli­ca­tions or poten­tial impli­ca­tions for moth­ers and fathers (female and male car­ers) gen­er­al­ly and also the effect of such expec­ta­tions on those already mar­gin­alised in their rela­tion­ships with schools.

How­ev­er, in addi­tion to this sce­nario oth­er devel­op­ments indi­cat­ing poten­tial for parental agency and the pos­si­bil­i­ties of arrest­ing the sti­fling and oppres­sive hold of the (post struc­tur­al) ‘reflex­ive project of the self’ as Gid­dens termed it or in the struc­tur­al sense, the mid­dle-class endeav­our of social repro­duc­tion. The recent finan­cial cri­sis and rev­e­la­tions of the cor­rup­tion of the finan­cial world have exposed some­thing of the way the cap­i­tal­ist world works and in turn have giv­en expres­sion to people’s frus­tra­tion with this dom­i­nant order. Whilst not sug­gest­ing rev­o­lu­tion is afoot, there are glim­mers of oppor­tu­ni­ties for change in terms of the role of schools and com­mu­ni­ties. In rela­tion to par­ents, fam­i­lies and edu­ca­tion these include the emer­gence of com­mu­ni­ties of prac­tice and demo­c­ra­t­ic involve­ment, such as in Chica­go and Fin­land for exam­ple.

In this lec­ture I will dis­cuss these two con­trast­ing ‘sce­nar­ios’ and the ten­sions between as well as with­in them and whether through emerg­ing fis­sures there are poten­tial pos­si­bil­i­ties for parental agency and the devel­op­ment of col­lec­tive edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties.

About Gill Crozier

Gill Crozi­er is Pro­fes­sor of Edu­ca­tion, and for­mer Direc­tor of the Cen­tre for Edu­ca­tion­al Research in Equal­i­ties, Pol­i­cy and Ped­a­gogy (2012–2015) in the School of Edu­ca­tion, Uni­ver­si­ty of Roe­hamp­ton, Lon­don, UK. She is a Fel­low of the Roy­al Soci­ety of Arts.

As a soci­ol­o­gist of edu­ca­tion she has researched and writ­ten exten­sive­ly about parents/families and school rela­tion­ships, issues relat­ing to young peo­ple, access to and par­tic­i­pa­tion in high­er edu­ca­tion, edu­ca­tion pol­i­cy, and the socio-cul­tur­al influ­ences upon iden­ti­ty for­ma­tion and learn­er expe­ri­ences. Her work is under­pinned by a deep con­cern for in/equalities and social jus­tice and is informed by the analy­sis of race, class and gen­der and the ways these social loca­tions and iden­ti­ties inter­sect and impact on life chances.

Her books include: Par­ents and Schools: Part­ners or Pro­tag­o­nists? (2000); Acti­vat­ing Par­tic­i­pa­tion: par­ents and teach­ers work­ing towards part­ner­ship (2005) co-edit­ed with Diane Reay ; Widen­ing Par­tic­i­pa­tion Through Improv­ing Learn­ing (2009) co-authored with M. David (ed.) and con­trib­u­tors; White Mid­dle Class Iden­ti­ties and Urban School­ing (2011 and 2013 sec­ond revised edi­tion) co-authored with D. Reay and D. James.

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