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'Fixing' children : producing a hierarchy of learners in primary school processes

Rausch, Claudine; (2012) 'Fixing' children : producing a hierarchy of learners in primary school processes. Doctoral thesis , Institute of Education, University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

This research project emerged in the context of the apparent paradox between the then New Labour Government's agenda for more 'inclusive' education practices on the one hand and yet the high level of school exclusions and expansion of segregated units on the other. I sought to enquire into how these tensions were negotiated and what understandings of inclusive education emerged in the primary school context; situating these processes within wider local and national policy contexts. An ethnographic study was undertaken, located in one inner London Primary school. Fieldwork involved non-participant observation over one academic year; concluding with semi-structured interviews with both children and staff. Routine moments of every day classroom experience revealed 'rather simple technical procedures' (Rose, 1999 p.135) functioning as 'disciplinary power' that 'compares, differentiates, hierarchizes, homogenizes, excludes' (Foucault 1979). 'Dividing practices' (Foucault 1979) such as grouping by perceived ability pervaded children's daily classroom experiences as school staff worked to enact the plethora of initiatives and directives issued from central government agencies. Through the same processes that served an over-riding drive to 'fix' or repair children in order to meet the normative demands of the 'standards agenda' expressed most visibly in high stakes testing, nationally set targets and associated 'league tables', it is suggested that children as school pupils were increasingly 'fixed' as educational subjects positioned in a finely graded hierarchy. I argue that routine processes of 'good practice' in every classroom functioned as 'gentle' exclusionary practices (Bourdieu and Champagne 1999 pp. 422-423) constituting 'student identities within the terms of enduring and predictable categorisations' (Youdell 2006 p. 177). This problematises 'the interpretation of what 'inclusiveness' is and to whom it extends' (Graham 2006 p.20).

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: 'Fixing' children : producing a hierarchy of learners in primary school processes
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos...
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis: (PhD) University of London Institute of Education, 2012.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10020680
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