The Industrial Past as a Tool of Possibility: Schooling and Social Class in a Former Coalfield Community

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


This papers presents data from ethnographic research carried out at Lillydown Primary, a local authority school in a former coalmining community in South Yorkshire. Complicating Avery Gordon’s concept of haunting, it argues that in order to begin refashioning typical accounts of schooling for the working class, we must reckon with the fullness of ghosts that remain to haunt the fabric of the present. The central argument of the article is that historical, place-based pedagogies and performances work to deliver a more relevant curriculum and experience of schooling that begin to ‘fit’ with pupils’ histories, culture and lived realities. It illustrates how phantomic rhythms of Lillydown’s industrial past have profound social and cultural effects on schooling which can, at least sometimes, encouragingly shape pupils’ experiences of education. It begins to demonstrate how Lillydown Primary is a place of unsettledness, where the something-to-be-done is seething into the present, but ghostly matters still conjure as they are not yet complete. The article argues that there are further spectral potentialities to be reckoned with that could go some way towards forging more critical spaces and pedagogies.
Period28 Apr 2023
Event titleClass, Emotions and the Affective Politics of Social Inequality
Event typeConference
LocationSheffield, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational