Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Education and the reconstitution of social class in England

an article by Patrick Ainley (University of Greenwich, London, UK) published in Research in Post-Compulsory Education Volume 18 Issue 1-2 (2013)


This paper extends the work of Gamble, who followed Marx in seeing a reconstitution of the reserve army of labour as a key function of capitalist crisis, but it suggests a wider class reformation that includes what can be called the middle-working / working-middle class.

Education and training to all levels are deeply implicated in this class reformation, not only by relegating an unskilled section of the previously manually working class to worthless vocational certification at one end, but in cramming for academic qualifications to ‘restart social mobility’ at the other.

The riots of summer 2011 are seen as a crystallisation of this new class formation, which goes further than during economic crisis in the 1970s manifested in what Finn called ‘training without jobs’ to be succeeded by what Ainley and Allen called ‘education without jobs’.

Delusionary efforts to ‘educate our way out of economic crisis’ are questioned in relation to ‘education’s credibility crunch’ since there is no ‘new correspondence’ between education and the economy so that the main remaining ‘function’ of institutionalised education and training is increasingly one of social control.

Education must therefore regain its purpose of critically learning from the past to meet the crisis of the present.

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