In this paper we consider two discussion-based parents’ forums at two secondary schools. We ask whether such forums can be considered as part of the small, local associative mechanisms which theorists claim have the potential to encourage a more vibrant and interactive public conversation concerning state provided welfare services. We conclude that they cannot – at least in any simple way. However, a study of the forums does raise several interesting issues to do with parents’ relationships with schools, the differential resources particular class fractions bring to bear in developing their relations with teachers, and the responses of the schools to parental voices
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