The processual life of neoliberalisation: Permutations of value systems and normative commitments in a co-operative trust setting

Wilkins, Andrew. 2019. The processual life of neoliberalisation: Permutations of value systems and normative commitments in a co-operative trust setting. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 23(11), pp. 1180-1195. ISSN 1360-3116 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Since 2010 the government in England has committed to accelerating the expansion of academies (‘state-funded independent schools’) through displacing the role of local government as principal manager and overseer of schools. In response increasing numbers of schools are embracing the co-operative trust model to improve economies of scale, facilitate stakeholding and community resilience, and fend off the monopolising tendencies of some large multi-academy trusts seeking wholesale takeover of certain underperforming schools. Yet there are concerns that co-operative schools do not represent a radical departure from routines of neoliberalism – defined by managerial deference, technocratic efficiency, upward accountability, and performativity – despite clear signs that co-operative schools promote themselves as jointly-owned, democratically-controlled enterprises. In this paper I adopt a ‘processual view of neoliberalisation’ (Peck and Tickell 2002) to complicate the idea that co-operative schools can be judged in binary terms of ‘either/or’ – neoliberal or democratic, exclusionary or participatory – and instead point to the variegated organisational life of co-operative schools and their messy actualities as they straddle competing and sometimes conflicting sets of interests, motives and demands in their practice of school governance.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Inclusive Education on 17/06/2019, available online:


Co-operative schools, neoliberalism, school governance, processual sociology

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


17 June 2019Published
25 May 2018Accepted

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Date Deposited:

06 Nov 2019 11:31

Last Modified:

12 Jun 2021 05:28

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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