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Democratic parent engagement: relational and dissensual

Haines Lyon, Charlotte ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8341-744X (2018) Democratic parent engagement: relational and dissensual. Power and Education, 10 (2). pp. 195-208.

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In opposition to the discourse of silent compliance and the neoliberal colonisation of voice, this article shares research with parents in an English primary school. Drawing on the work of Jacques Rancière and John Macmurray I argue that there is a need for a more relational but dissensual approach to parental engagement and voice, instead of parents being positioned by schools as support acts. Parent engagement, increasingly commodified over recent years within English school policy, has been relegated to responding to questionnaires, dutiful attendance of parents’ evenings and choosing the correct school.
Meanwhile the social mobility agenda demands that parents inculcate aspirations in their children unquestioningly. Policies and pronouncement seek to ‘close the gap’ in attainment between the poorest children and their peers in England, Australia, the United States and other neoliberalised countries. Hence, in a context where parent engagement is now an exercise in creating ‘good’ pupils who will become successful economic beings.
This article considers how parents have been rendered objects rather than agentic subjects within neoliberal education systems and have lost their democratic voice. It concludes that there needs to be a reanimation of Dewey’s (2013) vision of “education politics” (Moutsios, 2010: 124).

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1757743818756913
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/2236

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