Education Policy and Realist Social Theory: Primary Teachers, Child-Centred Philosophy, and the New Managerialism

By Robert Willmott | Go to book overview

5

Socio-cultural elaboration

The 1988 Education Reform Act and the new managerialism

Introduction

The purpose of this chapter is to delineate the final phase of the morphogenetic sequence, which in turn provides the temporal starting-point of a new conditioning sequence. The three-part sequential schema adopted for this part of the book is necessarily generic because of its broad sweep. Fundamentally, it should be clear that the phases of Conditioning → Interaction → Outcome have not been arbitrarily plucked out of the historical time-scale. The explanatory power of the morphogenetic approach lies in the link between substantive research and the temporal multi-sequential nature of social reality: what is to be explained is necessarily anchored in sui generis strata and their temporal materialisation. In other words, a broad-brush analysis of the type I have provided dictates a broad sequencing procedure. Thus, at almost innumerable points in each chapter could a morphogenetic sequence begin: again, where it begins depends on what one wants to explain. The establishment of the Senior Management Team in my first case-study mentioned in Chapter 1 constitutes the start of a new conditioning sequence, which is the end-product of a temporal sequence of social interaction. The point is that, whilst this sequence lends itself to detailed empirical enquiry, it is part of a wider (macro) morphogenetic sequence. Any study that detailed the minutiae involved in the establishment of the management team without recourse to the wider sequence would be somewhat vitiated. However, the multi-sequential nature of social reality enjoins that we respect the fact that at any given point in time there are cycles within cycles, operating at different (irreducible) levels of social reality. The number of cycles at any one level cannot be determined a priori, but established a posteriori.

Within any school one can conceive of cycles in terms of various specific committees alongside the Senior Management Team and their associated roles and deposited powers, which are analytically distinct from their concrete operation. A significant number of teachers will therefore also be members or heads of committees, equal opportunities officers, parent-school coordinators, and so on, whereby role-associated powers shape activities often unrelated to classroom practice. This applies equally at the level of the DfEE, which itself provides the conditioning cyclical background to schools and LEAs. It is because the DfEE constrains and/or facilitates activities at the school (and LEA) level that one can talk of second-order (systemic) emergence. (Here, of course, the LEA itself may

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Education Policy and Realist Social Theory: Primary Teachers, Child-Centred Philosophy, and the New Managerialism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Establishing the Theoretical Framework 5
  • 1 - Structure, Agency and Educational Change 7
  • 2 - Culture, Organisation Theory and the New Managerialism 40
  • Part II - Child-Centred Philosophy, New Managerialism and the English Education System 77
  • 3 - Socio-Cultural Conditioning 79
  • 4 - Socio-Cultural Interaction 103
  • 5 - Socio-Cultural Elaboration 119
  • Part III - At the Managerial Chalk Face 147
  • Preface to Part III 149
  • 6 - Southside 164
  • 7 - Westside: 190
  • Part IV - Concluding Remarks 219
  • 8 - What About the Children? 221
  • Notes 227
  • References 239
  • Index 247
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