"An autoethnography of 'social justice' in a primary school”: notes from a PhD dissertation

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

30 Downloads (Pure)


The study deals with issues of social justice and democracy. Children’s treatment in the school environment has barely changed over many decades. This is in direct contrast with freedoms they enjoy outside of school from, for example, their use of information communication technology. This paper reports an autoethnographic study recounting a school headteacher’s phenomenological experience of working in an urban primary school whilst undertaking his doctorate. Over a two-year period he recorded observational experiences in a daily diary. The focus was on children (and inevitably staff), in areas of intergenerational exclusion. I asked how democratic and therefore inclusive is state schooling? I focused on the experience of children through their interactions and relationships with staff and school culture. Their experience as children was uncovered as holding the status of subordinated social agents of an education policy hinterland that construct a school's micro-institutional structures. The latter's hidden policy values legitimates symbolic violence upon working-class children whose voices are always de-regulated. Our conclusions contrast the state system with the controversial Summerhill School.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2022
EventUniversity of the West of Scotland Research Conference 2022 - UWS Lanarkshire Campus, High Blantyre, United Kingdom
Duration: 22 Jun 202223 Jun 2022


ConferenceUniversity of the West of Scotland Research Conference 2022
Abbreviated titleUWS Research Conference 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityHigh Blantyre
Internet address


  • education
  • democracy


Dive into the research topics of '"An autoethnography of 'social justice' in a primary school”: notes from a PhD dissertation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this