Finding Space for Agency in Permanent Exclusion from School

Carlile, Anna. 2009. Finding Space for Agency in Permanent Exclusion from School. Power and Education, 1(3), pp. 259-269. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article aims to examine the experiences of pupils and professionals who are affected by permanent exclusion (what used to be called being expelled) from school. An ethnographic study conducted during the author’s employment as a Pupil Support Officer 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 inequitable decisions about including or excluding pupils in the face of powerful competition between the politically unchallengeable concepts of tolerance, inclusivity, attainment, and choice. The article argues that the tensions of multi-agency working are focused within what will be described as the contested space of the young person’s ‘extended body’. However, whilst the contested nature of this space renders it vulnerable to negative description and to the biased judgements of authoritarian power, it also offers itself as a space for emancipatory self description by the young person and for the expression of agency on the part of those professionals working for social justice.

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permanent exclusion; school; behaviour; agency; ethnography; Foucault

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies



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Date Deposited:

16 Sep 2010 13:15

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:49

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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