Docile bodies or contested space? Working under the shadow of permanent exclusion

Carlile, Anna. 2011. Docile bodies or contested space? Working under the shadow of permanent exclusion. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 15(3), pp. 303-316. ISSN 1360-3116 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper aims to examine the experiences of pupils and professionals who are affected by actual or threatened permanent exclusion (what used to be called being expelled) from school. An ethnographic study based on the writer's employment within secondary schools and the Children's Services department of an urban local authority in England explores the idea that professionals may be forced to make decisions about pupils in the face of powerful competition between the politically unchallengeable concepts of tolerance, inclusivity, attainment, and choice. The paper argues that the tensions of multi-agency working are focussed within what will be called the contested space of the pupil's 'extended body'. Permanent exclusion, along with its tendency to prompt a pathological reading of a pupil's issues, is therefore seen as an authoritarian strategy designed to ameliorate the inherent paradoxical tension experienced by the various professionals working within an education system dedicated to the concept of 'full inclusion' but measured and funded on the grounds of academic league tables.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


permanent exclusion; ethnography; Foucault; inclusion; behaviour

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


24 August 2010Published Online
1 November 2009Accepted

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

23 Nov 2010 13:39

Last Modified:

25 Jun 2021 10:07

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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