14 SES 02, Schooling in Rural/Urban Settings II
Some parents choose to put the child into the local school of the neighbourhood (e.g. van Zanten 2001; 2009; Oberti 2007), and through this kind of a choice emphasize the value of educating their children in the local spaces. Other parents choose to send their children to further schools with better reputations and thus try to secure a more preferable peer group or better quality of teaching than they believe the neighbourhood school would provide (Kosunen et al. 2012; Ball & Vincent 1998). In previous research the explanations of choosing or not choosing a certain school have mainly focused on the quality of teaching, peer group composition, or school reputation. The urban dimension has usually been discussed when examining the dialogue between social segregation in cities and the freedom of choosing schools (e.g. Oberti et al. 2012; Taylor 2009; Butler 2003). Thus in spite of the fruitful dialogue between urban research and sociology of education, research literature still focuses mainly on the actual school as the environment impacting the choice, and often disregards the urban dimension that surrounds the school.
The jouney to school is therefore the earliest form of autonomous or semi-autonomous mobility in the life-course of children across Europe (Vercesi 2008). The basis of choosing the school journey to our focus of analysis has had three important standpoints. First, the mobility of children in urban milieu and especially in public spaces constructs a social arena for parental fears and control (Valentine and McKendrick 1997; Pain 2006). Second, children’s independent mobility noticeably decreased in Western countries during the past decades (Vercesi 2008). Third, a large amount of research has shown that strong gender differences structure children’s mobility (Valentine 1997; Karsten 1998), including the journey to school (Mc Millan et al. 2006) in many countries.
Ball, S. J. & Vincent, C 1998. 'I Heard It on the Grapevine: hot knowledge and school choice. British Journal of Sociology of Education 19, no. 3: 377–400. Butler T. 2003. Living in the Bubble: gentrification and its “Others” in North London. Urban Studies 40 (12), 2469-2486. Karsten L. 1998. Growing up in Amsterdam: differentiation and segregation in children’s daily lives, Urban Studies 35(3), 565-581. Kosunen, S., Carrasco, A. & Tironi, M. 2012. "I wouldn't feel comfortable in that environment": comparing the role of school reputation in parental decision- making in Finland and Chile. Paper presented in ECER2012. McMillan T., et al. 2006, Johnny Walks to School- Does Jane? Sex Differences in Children’s Active Travel to School, Children, Youth and Environments, 16(1), 75-89. Oberti M., L’école dans la ville. Ségrégation-mixité-carte scolaire, Presses de Sciences Po, 2007, Paris. Oberti M., Préteceille E. & Rivière C. 2012. Les effets de l’assouplissement de la carte scolaire dans la banlieue parisienne, Sciences Po-OSC. Pain R., Paranoid parenting? Rematerializing risk and fear for children, Social & Cultural Geography, 7(2), 221-243. Taylor, C. 2009. Choice, competition, and segregation in a United Kingdom education market. American Journal of Education 115 (4), 549–568. Valentine G. 1997. “My son is a bit dizzy.” “My wife is a bit soft”: gender, children, and cultures of parenting, Gender, place and culture, 4(1), 37-62. Valentine G. and Mc Kendrick J. 1997. Children’s outdoor play: exploring parental concerns about children’s safety and the changing nature of childhood, Geoforum, 28(2), 219-235. Van Zanten A., 2001, L’école de la périphérie. Scolarité et ségrégation en banlieue, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris. Van Zanten A. 2009, Choisir son école : stratégies familiales et médiations locales, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris. Vercesi M. 2008. La mobilità autonoma dei bambini tra ricerca e interventi sul territorio, Franco Angeli, Milan.
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