Education, Social Haunting, and Deindustrialisation: Attuning to Ghosts in the Hidden Curriculum

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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This chapter draws on ethnographic research carried out at ‘Lillydown Primary’, a state school for 3–11-year-olds in a former mining community in the north of England. It explores how historical relations and performances, reflective of Lillydown’s industrial past, continue to haunt processes and experiences of the hidden curriculum, even though Britain’s coal industry is long gone. Complicating Avery Gordon’s notion of ‘haunting’ and drawing on neo-Marxist analysis of education, this chapter presents a complex picture of the enactment and reproductive effects of the hidden curriculum. It highlights how ghosts work to open up spaces for transformation. The chapter illustrates how the hidden curriculum is enacted through more traditional performances of authority and working-class codes, rather than conditions and relations of control. Whilst ghostly matters of Lillydown’s industrial past encouragingly shape areas of schooling, at times they play a role in reproducing classed divisions and relations. By arguing for a conscious reckoning with the fullness of ghosts, this chapter suggests it is possible, at least in some circumstances, to challenge and refashion processes and experiences of the hidden curriculum in ways that recognise the richness and heritage of working-class culture, as well as the pain and loss.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducation, Work and Social Change in Britain's Former Coalfield Communities
Subtitle of host publicationThe Ghost of Coal
EditorsRobin Simmons, Katherine Simpson
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan, Cham
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783031107924
ISBN (Print)9783031107917
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2022


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