Parent participation in disadvantaged schools: moving beyond attributions of blame

Mills, Carmen and Gale, Trevor (2004) Parent participation in disadvantaged schools: moving beyond attributions of blame. Australian Journal of Education, 48 (3). pp. 268-281. ISSN 0004-9441

Text (Accepted Version)

Download (73Kb)


While facilitating community participation in disadvantaged schools can be difficult, this article argues that given the structuring of schooling in contemporary western democracies, it is even more difficult than we might imagine. Drawing on Bourdieu, we attempt to elucidate the complex relations between schooling and socio-cultural contexts which can lead to inequalities of opportunity for parent participation in schooling and work to maintain disadvantage for marginalised students. Recognitive justice, with its positive regard for social difference and centrality of social democratic processes, offers us another way of advancing this discussion beyond simplistic attributions of blame. In particular, a politics of recognition is concerned with opening up the processes of schooling to groups who often have been excluded and for their views to be seriously engaged within decision-making processes. This article gives voice to such views, utilising interview data from a small Australian secondary school located in a regional community with high welfare dependency and a large indigenous population. We conclude that to increase parent participation in disadvantaged schools, what is needed is a transformation of the field ‘to establish alternative goals and … completely … redefine the game and the moves which permit one to win it’ (Bourdieu, 1988, p. 172).

Statistics for USQ ePrint 2189
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author's version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the ACER journal. It is not a copy of the record. Final and authorised version first published in the Australian Journal of Education, 48 (3), 268-281, published by the Australian Council for Educational Research. Copyright © 2004 Australian Council for Educational Research.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:59
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2013 04:00
Uncontrolled Keywords: inequality in schooling; social disadvantage; educational disadvantage
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160809 Sociology of Education
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170103 Educational Psychology
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939903 Equity and Access to Education

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only