Education and Social Haunting in Post-Industrial Britain: Primary School Pupils’ Experiences of Schooling in a Former Coalmining Community

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Abstract

This paper examines the intergenerational effects of deindustrialisation on the processes and experiences of education at ‘Lillydown Primary’, a state primary school in a former mining community in the north of England. Complicating Avery Gordon’s notion of ‘haunting’, and drawing on conceptualisations of affect and community ‘being-ness’, it highlights how contemporary experiences of education continue to be affected by historical and cultural relations and rhythms of everyday life, even though most of Britain’s traditional industrial base is now gone. The paper draws on data from ethnographic research carried out at the School and explores the complex ways in which historical, class-based relations and modes of ‘being’ continue to haunt across time and space. Its findings suggest that by coming to know the fullness of a social haunting – the loss, injury and the ‘goodness’ of the past – schools may have the potential to engage working-class children in educational processes and experiences from which they might otherwise feel excluded, alienated or detached.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Studies
Early online date11 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jan 2021

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