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Title: Young people travelling to school, social lives and local connections : constraints or opportunities?
Author: Knight, Abigail
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 9128
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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Changes in English education policy since the late 1980s have resulted in a greater emphasis on diversity in educational provision and parental 'choice' of secondary schools. Recent education policies have also seen a growth in academies and free schools, which have their own system of allocating places other than local catchment areas. These changes have contributed to the fact that more young people of secondary school age are travelling longer distances to school. Based on a total of 44 qualitative interviews with 26 young people aged between 12 and 17, 12 parents and six education professionals, this thesis is about the experiences of young people who travel outside their local areas to school and explores whether these experiences affect their social lives outside school and levels of connectedness with their local neighbourhoods. The topic of school choice is also considered from the point of view of both young people and their parents. The study is framed by sociological theories of children and childhood and takes a generational and relational approach. The thesis draws on social theories of Pierre Bourdieu, notably his concepts of field, capital and habitus and Foucault's notions of power relating to disciplinary power and surveillance and power exercised through knowledge and the discourse. The thesis argues that young people who travel outside their local areas to school are constrained by a number of powerful forces, such as intergenerational relations, both familial and extra-familial, educational policy, transport, habitus and by varying forms of capital. Yet the picture is not clear-cut: the thesis also shows how some young people are able to resist the constraints placed upon them and that, for some of the young people, their experiences of travelling to school outside their local areas have provided them with greater opportunities than constraints. The thesis thereby contributes to on-going sociological debates about the nature of agency and structure and draws links between sociological thinking about childhood, children's geographies and the sociology of education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available