School choice, consumerism and the ethical strand in talk

Wilkins, Andrew. 2011. School choice, consumerism and the ethical strand in talk. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 32(2), pp. 357-370. ISSN 0159-6306 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Research on school choice highlights the extent to which a communitarian impulse informs the way some parents engage with their role as chooser. This suggests that the responsibilities of parents as consumers are often negotiated in collective as well as individualizing terms. Drawing on data from a group of mothers of diverse social class and racial backgrounds, this paper builds on some of these perspectives through deploying elements of a critical discursive analytic approach. Its aim is to explore how some mothers engage with the meaning and practice of school choice. Focusing on the emotional labouring that often underpins mothers’ rationalizations of choice, this paper examines the discursive role of emotion in these contexts as a form of social action geared towards achieving certain ends. In turn I discuss the implications of this for thinking through choice as a framing, function and discourse inhabited and performed by mothers.

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school choice, marketization, consumerism, emotion, rationality, discursive analysis

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


26 May 2011Published Online

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Date Deposited:

07 Nov 2019 15:12

Last Modified:

10 Jun 2021 18:47

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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