A market in waste: psychic and structural dimensions of school-choice policy in the UK and children’s narratives on ‘demonized’ schools

Lucey, Helen and Reay, Diane (2002). A market in waste: psychic and structural dimensions of school-choice policy in the UK and children’s narratives on ‘demonized’ schools. Discourse: Studies in the cultural politics of education, 23(3) pp. 253–266.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0159630022000029768

Abstract

Transformations in local secondary schools markets in the UK have not simply been accomplished at a structural and policy level: social changes are crosscut by fiction and fantasy that resonate with and implicate subjects at the level of the personal. Drawing on a study of children's transitions to secondary school, we analyse the emotional processes through which particular schools come to be 'demonized' in the minds of Year 6 children, consider the impact such damaging discourses have on children who were to go to those schools, and explore connections between social and psychic realities in the increasing polarization of secondary schools. We examine the impact of discourses of race and racism on the psychic construction of 'good' and 'bad' schools and explore how this connected with family practices of secondary school choice and current constructions of UK local educational markets.

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