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Post-school dilemmas in diminished society: Working-class mothers’ perspectives of choices and realities in their communities
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-24, 04:38 authored by Piper Rodd
This paper provides insight into working-class parents’ views of the structural and systemic injustices shaping post-school options and opportunities in contemporary Australia, drawing on interview data with a group of mothers living in growth corridor suburbs in the outer west of Melbourne. Illustrating aspects of Berlant’s (2011) notion of “cruel optimism”, the paper examines the concepts of diminished society and collective community afforded by success through education, an aspiration and achievement unequal among young Australians. As Reay (2017) argues, an ideological narrative that positions individuals as being responsible for their own achievement through education sets many up to fail. This paper gives voice to the lived experiences of this individual responsibilitisation. We draw on elements of Marxist analysis, a subset of critical theory, whereby economic circumstances are the basis upon which political and ideological realities are built, critiquing the ways in which neoliberal social and economic policy and ideology are normalised (Tyson, 2015).