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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Bagley, C & Hillyard, S (2015). School Choice in an English Village: Living, Loyalty and Leaving. Ethnography and Education 10(3): 278-292.

Author(s) from Durham


In late modernity, the marketisation of public services has become a global policy phenomenon. In the case of schooling, this has resulted in parents discursively positioned as consumers of education making a choice between providers of education. To date the majority of research on parental choice has focused on the urban; this paper is concerned with the rural. Using ethnographic data collected through interviews (N = 24) and observations in one English village, it explores the ways in which parents engage with primary school choice. The research draws on Bourdieu's interrelated concepts of field, habitus and capital to discuss how the dispositions and resources parents had impacted upon the school choices they made. In presenting its findings, the paper distinguishes between the long-term residents (villagers) and more recent arrivals (newcomers) to suggest a differentiated commitment to place and schooling.

School of Education