The Institutional Silencing of Care in School: Implications for Children and Young People

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


This paper reports on an institutional ethnography (IE) (Smith 2005) of a primary school in the north of England during a regulatory period of ‘notice to improve’. The focus of IE is on the textual mediation of people’s social engagement and the particular focus of this study was ‘how do teachers come to care?’ Drawing on the work of Joan Tronto (1993) the study highlights the mediation of teachers’ work through ‘politics first’, ‘morality first’ and ‘personal’ boundaries. Discussion considers ideological and theoretical abstraction by the elite and the institutional relations of ruling as teachers take up policy and guidance. One outcome is the institutional silencing of teachers as care receivers and an overt focus on teachers as care givers.
While this is ethically questionable, since it creates a powerful imbalance in the teachers’ consciousness of their embodied selves, it also has implications for children and young people who may be seen as other within the outcomes focussed neoliberal frame of school performance. Consequently I also draw on my experience in working with a group of boys in the school, identified in need of reading support, yet who had a very different view of their needs.
Period23 Jun 2016
Event titleChildren and Young People in a Changing World: Action, Agency and Participation
Event typeConference
LocationLiverpool, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational