Reflections on inequality, uneven educational space-times, and entangled histories

Year: 2016

Author: Seddon, Terri

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The history of sociology of education is centred by the problem of inequality. Yet Ball (2008) suggests the knowledge turn in the 1970s was a factor in dislocating the relation between sociology of education and education policy, which undercut sociological readings of education and society and its ways of problematizing educational inequality. The problematisation of educational inequality was then reworked to foreground aspiration-deficits amongst students and teachers. This way of understanding inequality was premised on individualized forms of reasoning that drew on an economic-psychological register and, from the 1980s, consolidated as improvement policies. I use the concept of ‘redisciplining’ premised on historical sociologies of concept formation to understand these politics of educational inequality. Looking back through research on teachers’ work, I trace how subsequent sociologies of education offered insights into education and inequality, but also contributed to the formation of uneven educational space-times. I then outline how I have used longitudinal qualitative analysis of educational work to map an entangled history of adult education and its implications for problematizing inequality.