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The social geography of childcare: 'making up' the middle class child

By Carol Vincent, Stephen Ball and Sophie Kemp


Childcare is a condensate of disparate social forces and social processes. It is gendered and classed. It is subject to an excess of policy and political discourse. It is increasingly a focus for commercial exploitation. This is a paper reporting on work in progress in an ESRC funded research project (R000239232) on the choice and provision of pre-school childcare by middle class (service class) families in two contrasting London locations. Drawing on recent work in class analysis the paper examines the relationships between childcare choice, middle class fractions and locality. It suggests that on the evidence of the findings to date, there is some evidence of systematic differences between fractions in terms of values, perspectives and preferences for childcare, but a more powerful case for intra-class similarities, particularly when it comes to putting preferences into practice in the 'making up of a middle class child' through care and education

Year: 2004
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