EDITORIAL: Devaluing the Individual

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Compulsory education in England has long been identified as problematic for some young people and English schools have been conceptualised as ‘particularly oppressive institutions that create the conditions that make their children the unhappiest amongst the industrialized nations’ (Duncan 2013, p. 29). Indeed, the literature is replete with studies on disengagement and related behaviours that represent resistance to the apparent structural impositions of the education system in England (Allan and Duckworth, 2018; Allan, 2015; Hall and Raffo, 2004; Kinder et al., 1999; Lumby, 2012). One critical aspect of this resistance is the role of value, wherein students may choose to disengage because they feel undervalued. Whilst compulsory schooling provides much fulfilment for the majority (Keys, 2006), the corollary of the current system is often a creation of cultural norms, whereupon those who fail to conform or fit in are castigated and alienated. In conceptualising this as recalcitrance, schools adopt a default position of righteousness (Harber, 2008). However, this can generate precisely the disaffection with schooling that they then criticize and punish’ (Duncan 2013, p. 29). This editorial, then, explores the role of value in education and discusses the implications of disregarding students’ values.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
JournalPrism: Casting New Light on Learning, Theory and Practice.
Issue number2
Early online date16 Mar 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Mar 2018


  • Disaffection
  • Values
  • Compulsory education


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