The idea of democratic schooling with its emphasis on equality is seriously attacked by the marketisation of education. New policies of educational restructuring emphasise accountability and close links between school and industry, where schools and students become targets of constant evaluation and competition. This book challenges such policies and practices through analyses of their negative consequences for social justice and democracy. It explores the effects of restructuring on everyday life in schools and other educational institutions and presents analyses of how differences based on gender, social class, ethnicity, nationality and embodiment are dealt with in educational settings.
The authors draw on a range of theories, including poststructuralist, postcolonial, feminist and Marxist perspectives, and the localised ethnographies are contextualised in changing educational politics. How policies are contradicted by practices is discussed in relation to the classroom, teacher education and issues of inclusion and exclusion. A critical gaze is directed at Nordic countries where restructuring processes contradict a political discourse based on equality and comprehensive education.
It is the immersion in the daily life of institutions and their participants that gives ethnography a particular edge in obtaining insights into what changes and what stays the same. This book provides a looking glass into the tensions and contradictions that New Right policies have introduced in educational institutions. Actors in the field experience frustration in introducing changes and controlling the direction of those changes. It is their voices that ethnographers try to hear and disseminate.