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

By Anna Carlile


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

Topics: X200, X300, X360, X330
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2010
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