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Spyros Themelis

Spyros Themelis

RESEARCH SEMINAR & DOCTORAL SEMINAR ON EDUCATION, SOCIAL CLASS AND TEACHERS’ LABOUR IN NEOLIBERAL TIMES

A Research Seminar / Doctoral Seminar

Organised by Professor Dave Hill

Wednesday 19th June

5.30 – 7.30

Anglia Ruskin University

Chelmsford Campus

Room: Sawyers Building – Saw 210

Travelling to the ARU Chelmsford Campus: http://www.anglia.ac.uk/ruskin/en/home/your_university/anglia_ruskin_campuses/chelmsford/find_chelm.html

Chelmsford Campus Map: http://www.anglia.ac.uk/ruskin/en/home/your_university/anglia_ruskin_campuses/chelmsford/find_chelm.Maincontent.0017.file.tmp/chelmsford-campus-map.pdf

All staff and research students, and undergraduate students, administrative staff and other education workers are welcome.

There will be four presentations of 30 minutes each, followed by a discussion and social gathering

Chair: Dave Hill

1 Alpesh Maisuria (Anglia Ruskin University) on his doctoral studies: A Critical Case Study Exploring Consciousness of Social Class in the Experiences of Immigrant Students in the Swedish Higher Education System

2. Spyros Themelis (Middlesex University) on Social Class and Education and his latest book: Social Change and Education in Greece

3. Sean Vertigan (Inner London Sixth Form College Teacher) on Neoliberalism and Teachers’ Pay, Conditions and the Material Conditions of Teachers’ Labour

4. Julia Carr (Summer Scholarship Student, Anglia Ruskin University) – will talk about her scholarship work and her Education Studies Major Project.

Professor Dave Hill

Professor Dave Hill

 

**END**

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Social Class

HOW CLASS WORKS 2012

CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS
A Conference at SUNY Stony Brook June 7-9, 2012

The Center for Study of Working Class Life is pleased to announce the How Class Works – 2012Conference, to be held at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, June 7-9, 2012. Proposals for papers, presentations, and sessions are welcome until December 12, 2011 according to the guidelines below.

For more information, visit our Web site at: http://www.workingclass.sunysb.edu  

Purpose and orientation: The conference seeks to explore ways in which an explicit recognition of class helps to understand the social world in which we live, and ways in which analysis of society can deepen our understanding of class as a social relationship. Presentations should take as their point of reference the lived experience of class; proposed theoretical contributions should be rooted in and illuminate social realities. Presentations are welcome from people outside academic life when they sum up social experience in a way that contributes to the themes of the conference. Formal papers will be welcome but are not required. All presentations should be accessible to an interdisciplinary audience.

Conference themes: The conference welcomes proposals for presentations that advance our understanding of any of the following themes:

* The mosaic of class, race, and gender. To explore how class shapes racial, gender, and ethnic experience and how different racial, gender, and ethnic experiences within various classes shape the meaning of class.
* Class, power, and social structure. To explore the social content of working, middle, and capitalist classes in terms of various aspects of power; to explore ways in which class and structures of power interact, at the workplace and in the broader society.
* Class and community. To explore ways in which class operates outside the workplace in the communities where people of various classes live.
* Class in a global economy. To explore how class identity and class dynamics are influenced by globalization, including experience of cross-border organizing, capitalist class dynamics, international labor standards.
* Middle class? Working class? What’s the difference and why does it matter? To explore the claim that the U.S. is a middle class society and contrast it with the notion that the working class is the majority; to explore the relationships between the middle class and the working class, and between the middle class and the capitalist class.
* Class, public policy, and electoral politics. To explore how class affects public policy, with special attention to health care, the criminal justice system, labor law, poverty, tax and other economic policy, housing, and education; to explore the place of electoral politics in the arrangement of class forces on policy matters.
* Class and culture: To explore ways in which culture transmits and transforms class dynamics.
* Pedagogy of class. To explore techniques and materials useful for teaching about class, at K-12 levels, in college and university courses, and in labor studies and adult education courses.

How to submit proposals for How Class Works – 2012 Conference

Proposals for presentations must include the following information: a) title; b) which of the eight conference themes will be addressed; c) a maximum 250 word summary of the main points, methodology, and slice of experience that will be summed up; d) relevant personal information indicating institutional affiliation (if any) and what training or experience the presenter brings to the proposal; e) presenter’s name, address, telephone, fax, and e-mail address. A person may present in at most two conference sessions. To allow time for discussion, sessions will be limited to three twenty-minute or four fifteen-minute principal presentations. Sessions will not include official discussants. Proposals for poster sessions are welcome. Presentations may be assigned to a poster session. Proposals for sessions are welcome. A single session proposal must include proposal information for all presentations expected to be part of it, as detailed above, with some indication of willingness to participate from each proposed session member. Submit proposals as an e-mail attachment to michael.zweig@stonybrook.edu or as hard copy by mail to the How Class Works – 2012 Conference, Center for Study of Working Class Life, Department of Economics, SUNY, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4384.

Timetable: Proposals must be received by December 12, 2011. After review by the program committee, notifications will be mailed on January 17, 2012. The conference will be at SUNY Stony Brook June 7-9, 2012. Conference registration and housing reservations will be possible after February 20, 2012. Details and updates will be posted at http://www.workingclass.sunysb.edu  

Conference coordinator:
Michael Zweig
Director, Center for Study of Working Class Life
Department of Economics
State University of New York Stony Brook, NY 11794-4384
631.632.7536
michael.zweig@stonybrook.edu  

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Lost

SOCIAL IMMOBILITY

Patrick Ainley and Martin Allen

The chatter about social mobility from a Coalition kicking away welfare services that have kept millions from poverty disguises the fact that there has been no real upward social mobility in Britain for the past 30 years and that nowadays the only social mobility is down.

Grand announcements – like Clegg’s £5 billion premium for the most educationally disadvantaged school pupils that seeks to compensate for the LibDems’ tuition fees capitulation – have repeatedly failed to create social mobility. Even in the post-war period when substantial numbers of young people moved into occupations paying more than those of their parents, there was little ‘relative’ mobility, ie. down as well as up. Rather than challenging the inequalities of the occupational order, the upward mobility that occurred merely meant there was some more room in the middle. Via selective grammar schooling it allowed limited working-class access to expanding professional and managerial occupations sustained by full male employment and the growing welfare state.

The development of comprehensive schools and more higher education contributed to widening aspirations. But this growth was as much a consequence as a cause of limited upward mobility. This was confirmed when a decline in mobility coincided with the partial abolition of grammar schools from 1965 on. (That this was coincidental can be seen in the USA when the same period of expansion of opportunities also ended despite all-through high schools since the war).

Hopes that an expanded middle afforded opportunities to educate the working class out of existence did not materialise. At best, there was an illusion of social mobility as the formerly manually working class shrank and many occupations were redefined as ‘professional’ and therefore requiring so-called ‘skills’ attested by educational qualifications. As a result, more people – especially women – now work in expanded office and service sectors but conditions of employment for this new non-manual working middle are increasingly insecure.

Blair and Brown put their faith in the globalised economy to provide new openings for those with qualifications at the expense of those without. New Labour’s campaign to raise ‘standards’ measured by qualifications led to unprecedented exam pass rates. Consequent allegations of ‘dumbing down’ came not only from traditionalists but also from some teachers, bullied by a  growing class of ‘managers’ (the new name for deputy and assistant head teachers) to meet targets that were raised as soon as they were achieved.

The main problem with New Labour’s ‘standards agenda’ however, was not the crushing of professional autonomy as lessons were delivered from templates so that what was taught became less important than how it could be assessed. It was far more fundamental. Whereas in the past, education was unfairly accused of failing the economy by not producing workplace skills when employers didn’t want them, now the economy has definitively failed education.

Rather than globalisation resulting in endless opportunities, employment prospects for most young people are in decline. This does not mean that there are no new professional and managerial vacancies but rather that, as ICT  sweeps through offices and work is outsourced if not exported, the term ‘white-collar employment’ is becoming meaningless. The main alternative to what are reduced to para-professions at best is a life in ‘customer services’. So it isn’t surprising that McDonalds report huge increases in applications from ‘qualified’ young people.

In a situation that we refer to as ‘education without jobs’, young people have to work harder and harder simply to maintain their place in the jobs queue. Gove’s announcement of a review of ‘vocational education’ will predictably relegate the majority to apprenticeships without jobs that will replay the Youth Training Schemes of the 1980s whilst privileging academic cramming for a minority.

Education has become like running up a down-escalator where you have to run faster and faster just to stand still as the former class pyramid has gone pear-shaped. The recent ‘social mobility’ rhetoric from politicians of all Parties disguises the fact that it is fear of downward social mobility that fuels the hysteria over educational competition for academic success.

The recession has made the situation of young people worse but it is not the cause of their problems. Likewise, we cannot ‘educate ourselves out of recession’ as even some teacher union and student leaders seem to think. Of course levels of educational provision should be defended but we also need to promote employment policies. As aspiring students face mortgaging their futures in hopes of eventual ‘graduate employment’, the promise of social mobility is exposed as a sham. Education faces its own credibility crunch and rising fees could finally burst the bubble. The main argument against them is – what else are school leavers expected to do?

Patrick Ainley and Martin Allen are the authors of Lost Generation? New strategies for youth and education, (Continuum, 2010)

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