14 SES 11 A, Parental Involvement. Commonalities and Differences across Europe (Part 2)
Symposium continued from 14 SES 10 A
In Norway, parents’ rights to be part of and influence their children’s schooling are emphasized in governmental education policy documents and stated by law through the Education Act. In theory, therefore, Norwegian parents have a lot of say in education. At the same time, however, research show that parents’ actual opportunities to contribute in school are minor and also that parents from different social backgrounds engage differently in their children’s schooling (for example Bæck, 2009, 2010a, 2010b). In this paper the main aim is to problematize and explore the tension between ideals and realities when it comes to parents’ opportunities to engage in their children’s schooling. More specifically, the aim is to elaborate on a theoretical understanding of the relationship be-tween home and school, with Norway as the empirical setting and among other things through the use of Bourdieu’s concept of social field as a theoretical lens. A social field can be understood as an arena or a battlefield for power fights between different actors, defined by specific stakes and interests, and that holds its own specific logic. In order to dis-entangle the void between ideals and realities in parents’ opportunities to engage in their chil-dren’s schooling, I will center the analysis on two forms of actors (teachers and parents), two forms of actions (teaching and parenting) and two forms of social fields (school and home). In doing so, I will show that teachers and parents relate to different social fields that are subject to different logics, which may create a distance between these two groups (teachers versus parents) and the two arenas (school versus home). In the paper I will also discuss how social background factors are activated and even inflated through the intersections between these two different social fields with their corresponding logics. I will also bring in issues such as consumer orientation and new forms of parenting in order to highlight social change as a factor that needs to be incorporated into education research analyses in this field. Key-words: parental involvement, social inequality, home-school cooperation
Bæck, U.-D. K. (2010a). ”We are the professionals.” A study of teachers’ views on parental involve-ment in school. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 31(3): 323-335. Bæck, U.-D. K. (2010b). Parental involvement practices in formalised home-school cooperation. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 54(6): 549-563.
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