Rethinking Education through Critical Psychology : Cooperative schools, social justice and voice book cover
1st Edition

Rethinking Education through Critical Psychology
Cooperative schools, social justice and voice

ISBN 9781138937741
Published August 29, 2016 by Routledge
192 Pages

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Book Description

Since the very first ‘co-operative’ school opened its doors in 2008, the complicated relations between ‘co-operative’ approaches to schooling and democratic subjectivity remain unexplored. This ground breaking book considers the role of ‘voice’ in co-operative schooling and its place in radical research, offering an original, critical analysis of an alternative model of ‘co-operative’ schooling set within the context of the contemporary public education sector in England. Drawing on post structural theory and critical ethnographic research, the author explores how this model might offer new ways of thinking about what education is for and who stands to benefit or lose when schools adopt co-operative ways of working together across the structures of governance, pedagogy and curriculum. The book considers how participatory ways of working in education might inform a more critical educational psychology that takes engendering equality and collective well-being as an alternative starting point to measuring individual achievement and cognitive development.

This text will appeal to advanced level undergraduate and postgraduate students, researchers and practitioners, particularly in the field of psychology, education, politics and social research, with an interest in developing a critical appreciation of inequalities in education and in reimagining the possibilities for change.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements.  Series editor preface.  Introduction: Navigating social (in)justice in education  1. Co-operative education re-born  2. Conceptualising a ‘co-operative’ voice  3. Making models: From ideas to action  4. Navigating co-operation  5. Putting the co-operative ‘to work’  6. Childhood, Education and ‘Co-operation’  7. The rupture of student voice: a non-event?  8 The end of the beginning? A cautious conclusion…

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Gail Davidge has over ten years’ experience as a practitioner in a variety of Primary and Early Years educational settings. She completed her PhD at the Education and Social Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK.


'Radical democratic project, quiet revolution, or an ethical brand on a shelf of the global education supermarket? In this wonderful book, Gail Davidge tells the unapologetically and delightfully messy story of how some UK schools navigate becoming "co-operative" amidst a neoliberal education marketplace where cooperation is justified through its benefits to the knowledge economy. Davidge skilfully navigates the "voices" of cooperation from illusions of equality that maintain the status quo, to a radical cooperative culture as a glimpse of equalities yet to come. This book makes a significant contribution to the theories and methods of Critical Educational Psychology.' China Mills, Lecturer in Critical Educational Psychology at the School of Education, University of Sheffield, UK 

'Theoretically sophisticated and passionately argued, Gail Davidge's beautifully written book examines the Cooperative School model as, in the author's words, "a possible site of counter discourse to the 'business of usual' of contemporary schooling". More than this, the author's careful and deeply considered work offers all of us in Education (and indeed beyond) renewed hope, rekindling the belief that things can be different and that, contra Mrs Thatcher, there is an alternative.' Professor Matthew Clarke, York St John University, UK


'This is an important contribution to a debate which explores the "conditions of possibility" for democratic and progressive engagement at a time of UK public sector reform. Davidge focuses on the co-operative school project to interrogate the value of "voice" in making a "new", radical, education thinkable and considers how this may be constrained or captured by power relationships within a dominant neo-liberal paradigm. Her astute questions, robust reflections and the critical lens she applies will be thought provoking for academics, practitioners and general readers seeking to make sense of ostensibly collective models of service delivery and livelihood-making at a time of disruption and precarity.' Dr Cilla Ross, Vice Principal: Co-operative Education and Research, Co-operative College, UK


'Gail Davidge’s wonderful critical ethnography on co-operative schools in England addresses a rather ironic question: What happens when an organisation that is underpinned by values based on co-operation and mutual aid enters into a highly marketized environment driven by the values of competition and individualization? This well theorized, data rich and highly nuanced book will provoke much debate and discussion amongst academics, teachers, headteachers, policy makers and all concerned about keeping social justice on the education agenda in the current policy moment.' Professor Martin Mills, The University of Queensland, Australia