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Parenting high achieving white working class boys in poverty - problematizi...

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LS1/09, Lockside

University of Huddersfield

Queensgate

Huddersfield

HD1 3DH

United Kingdom

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Parenting high achieving white working class boys in poverty - problematizing ‘active cultivation’ as an explanation for ‘beating the odds’.

Dr Donald Simpson, Senior Lecturer in Education at Teesside University

Abstract

A powerful discursive formation claims the wrong type of parenting amongst the poor predisposes their children to educational underachievement. A small number of children in poverty ‘succeeding against the odds’ in early education potentially undermines this construction of ‘parent blame’ as despite their alleged shortcomings some disadvantaged parents rear their children to succeed in assessments. This requires an explanation which perpetuates the dominant discourse about deficiencies amongst the poor; one which suggests ‘good parenting’ is resource free, class-neutral and achievable once parents in poverty change how they think and act.

I will show how the concept of active cultivation has gained traction because it offers this. But, much research questions the existence of widespread ‘bad parenting’ amongst the poor. Moreover, I will draw on data collected from parents in poverty whose children ‘beat the odds’ in early education to question active cultivation's explanatory value. I will claim its use underplays the importance of resources and social class in parenting and it is part of a wider trope justifying political direction.

About the speaker

Dr Donald Simpson is a Senior Lecturer in Education at Teesside University. His current research focuses upon both the realities of work with poverty undertaken by pre-school practitioners and upon the relationship between poverty and parenting of young children. He recently used methods developed as part of the Centre for Research in Early Childhood’s Higher Achieving White Working Class Boys project to complete an independent study in Middlesbrough. Data from the latter will be discussed in this presentation. Donald has published his research in several leading international journals –

http://www.tees.ac.uk/sections/research/social_sciences/staff_profile_details.cfm?staffprofileid=U0012075



Part of the Huddersfield Centre for Research in Education and Society (HudCRES) events.

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LS1/09, Lockside

University of Huddersfield

Queensgate

Huddersfield

HD1 3DH

United Kingdom

View Map

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