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Schooling in the Age of Austerity: Urban Education and the Struggle for Democratic Life

Overview

Schooling in the Age of Austerity examines the fragmentation of human security in urban public schools and lives of young people amid escalating global economic volatility and domestic social polarization. In accessible and vivid language, Means confronts how neoliberal restructuring and crisis have contributed to the fraying of the urban social contract, processes of violence and criminalization, and the erosion of the educative and human development capacity of urban public schools serving historically ...

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Schooling in the Age of Austerity: Urban Education and the Struggle for Democratic Life

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Overview

Schooling in the Age of Austerity examines the fragmentation of human security in urban public schools and lives of young people amid escalating global economic volatility and domestic social polarization. In accessible and vivid language, Means confronts how neoliberal restructuring and crisis have contributed to the fraying of the urban social contract, processes of violence and criminalization, and the erosion of the educative and human development capacity of urban public schools serving historically disadvantaged and marginalized communities. Through an ethnographic case study in a low-income and racially segregated neighborhood and public high school in the city of Chicago, Means highlights the voices and experiences of educators and young people living and working at the margins of the new urban geography. Despite precarious conditions, Means demonstrates that there exists a wealth of positive social relations, knowledge, and desire for change among educators, youth, and communities that can be built upon and nurtured in order to develop more ethical and restorative approaches to urban schooling and to promote more secure and equitable democratic futures for young people.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Austerity now serves as a legitimating ideology to gut public schools, weaken teachers' unions, standardize curricula, punish students, and undermine teacher autonomy. Alexander J. Means explores these issues brilliantly in Schooling in the Age of Austerity. Not only does he provide a broad and multilayered context for examining the impacts of privatization, disinvestment, commercialization, and militarization of public schools, but he does so through one of the most detailed and theoretical, rich and informative ethnographies written in the last thirty years. Means provides not only a thorough critique of public school system and society driven by ruthless market forces but also a discourse of compassion, hope, and reform. This may be one of the best books on educational reform we have and should be read by everyone interested in education, young people, and democracy."
- Henry A. Giroux, Global Television Network Chair in English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada, and author of Youth in a Suspect Society

"In this important book, Alexander J. Means demonstrates that the culture of policing and containment in urban schools is intertwined with the material and symbolic violence of neoliberal urbanism and economic austerity. Through the perspectives of youth and their teachers, Means describes the impacts of the militarization and corporate dominance of schooling and the destabilization of disinvested African American and Latino working-class communities - and he finds the spaces of hope and possibility created by young people and adults. This book should be read by all those who wish to understand, and challenge, racialized social and economic inequalities and injustices in urban schools." - Pauline Lipman, Professor of Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA and author of The New Political Economy of Urban Education: Neoliberalism, Race and the Right to the City

"Means presents compelling views on various factors influencing the reform of public schools, including teachers' unions, curricular planning, and indicators of success . . . Additionally, Means provides the invaluable perspectives of youth from Chicago who were the direct recipients of school reform: he discusses their experiences with the process, be they positive, negative, or undetermined. While no clear resolutions are offered, several key discussions are organized to allow the reader to reflect and challenge his or her own preconceived notions about stakeholdres, outside participants, and factors influencing school reform . . . Recommended." - Choice

'Alexander J. Means provides an excellent contribution to the already vibrant discussion and criticism of the neo-liberalization of US schooling and concomitant assault on the public sphere writ large . . . Ultimately, Means' book is an exemplar of the necessary imbrication of theory, method, and ethics in critical policy scholarship.' – Graham B. Slater, University of Utah, USA

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Alexander J. Means is a graduate of the PhD program in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at OISE, University of Toronto, Canada. He currently teaches in the Department of Sociology at Trent University in Ontario, Canada and in the Department of Education at Concordia University in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Schooling in a Time of Crisis and Austerity PART I: NEOLIBERAL SCHOOLING AND THE POLITICS OF SECURITY Securing Precarious Urban Futures Chicago and the Management of Social Research PART II: NARRATIVES OF ENCLOSURE AND POSSIBILITY Learning by Dispossession: Objective Violence and Educational Failure Criminality or Sociality: A Zero Sum Game?
Searching for Human Security and Citizenship Conclusion: Public Schooling for a Common Security

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