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OUR PUBLICATIONS > Community and Collectivism: The role of parents’ organisations in the education system

CCE Research

Community and Collectivism: The role of parents’ organisations in the education system


January 1, 2007

Author: Carol Vincent

Institution: University of Warwick, Institute of Education.

Full reference: Vincent, C., (1997) ‘Community and Collectivism: The role of parents’ organisations in the education system’ in British Journal of Sociology of Education. Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 271-283

This paper outlines the theoretical and empirical starting-points for a research project addressing the role of parents’ organisations in the education system. It argues that a study of relationships conducted between homes, schools and parents’ groups and organisations has the potential to illuminate key concepts in education, considering as examples ‘citizenship’ and ‘community’.

The paper is divided into three main sections. The first briefly describes the study’s background, its scope and methodology. The second section considers the use of some of Antonio Gramsci’s work in providing a theoretical starting-point with which to explore the construction and maintenance of hegemonic discourses surrounding parenting. The concluding section of the paper widens the discussion to consider two key concepts, community and citizenship.

It is argued that the discursive positioning of these concepts, in other words, how they are understood and defined, influences the ways in which relationships between parents and the education system are perceived and construed. This is illustrated with reference to readings of ‘citizenship’ and ‘community’ which emphasise, not consensus and homogeneity as in traditional definitions, but conflict, difference and multiplicity.

The paper concludes that there is a continued need for empirical data focusing on everyday citizen and citizen-state interactions which reveal how individuals live within, and understand and experience these relationships.

Go to the article.