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Community and the education market: A cross-national comparative analysis of ethnographies of education inclusion and involvement in rural schools in Spain and Sweden

Journal article
Authors Dennis Beach
M. B. V. Arrazola
Published in Journal of Rural Studies
Volume 77
Pages 199-207
ISSN 0743-0167
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Education and Special Education
Pages 199-207
Language en
Keywords Rural schools, Market governance, Ethnography, Meta-ethnography, Mobile, modernity, out-migration, choice, family, Geography, Public Administration
Subject categories Educational Sciences


The present article uses 25 ethnographic publications as data for a cross-national meta-ethnographic analysis of school development in rural communities. The publications come from research in four research projects in two countries in the past decade that were ethnographically exploring different challenges in schools in rural areas in relation to changes in State regulation from bureaucratic and professional control to market governance. Different schools in different types of rural area with different types of pedagogical and leadership challenges have been identified. Two different types of school; communitas schools and magnet schools; have emerged from the investigation as two common, different and analytically important ways of responding to market pressures. Parental co-operation and community involvement characterizes the former whilst finding ways to competitively expand and exploit resources to refine and expand recruitment characterize the other. They are both contextual developments from market governance but the latter is also recognized as a default position for school development in market conditions. Both are described as adding value for or to rural communities but in very different ways. These different ways are presented and discussed in the article and based on this discussion, the development of markets in education is described as potentially very problematic in some rural areas. Schools with greater access to resources are benefitted at the expense of other schools in ways that undermine fundamentally important rural community values.

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