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Title: Everybody is just Manchester : mothers' perspectives on (non)engagement with services as a lens to trouble a neoliberal equality discourse in early years policy
Author: Edwards, Monica Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 7233 1263
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2018
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In 2006, the UK government piloted free childcare for two-year-olds from disadvantaged families, expanding this into the ‘two-year-old offer’ (DfE, 2014). Despite efforts to widen participation, families from minority ethnic communities appear less likely to take up the offer (DfE, 2012). Research into non-engagement by families, particularly mothers, from minority ethnic communities frequently find reasons such as language barriers, a lack of service awareness or issues relating to isolation. These conclusions reflect cultural and political tensions that locate problems within communities and do not question powerful normative discourses. Through the narrated experiences of a small group of mothers from Pakistani and Somali heritage, whose young children have engaged with the two-year-old offer, this study interrogates discourses of (non)engagement. The study moves away from focusing research ‘on’ participants, to trouble the neoliberal discourses of equality that shape early years policies, constructing ideas of (non)engagement. By putting a postcolonial feminist lens to work with the stories shared by women in this study, nuanced discussions emerge that entangle their experiences of (non)engagement with broader experiences of sameness, difference and belonging that hint at invisible, powerful equality discourses. The impact of working with postcolonial feminism as a theoretical tool and methodological approach enabled me to think differently about the women’s stories, offering an important focus for analysis, whilst also unsettling the many assumptions and taken-for-granted knowledges I was carrying with me, as a doctoral student. Ruptures, ambiguity and precarity became themes to analyse, not only the study topic of (non)engagement, but also the experience of conducting the research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available