Discipline in the private school field: a narrative of parental control and fight over authority

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


    In the past few decades, public views have geared towards the notion that private schools have strong discipline policies. This notion is in accordance with current neoliberal policies to (re)shape educational systems; promoting privatization, on the logic that parental control will force competition, therefore, improving discipline. Interestingly, while there is mounting research on discipline practices in public schools, little is known about this topic in private schools. This paper asks: How do parents influence the culture of discipline in private, self-funded schools, and how might this influence be conceptualized? Drawing on interviews with 16 American teachers in private, religious schools—ones that fully rely on parents’ genuine choice and financial commitment—findings suggest that parental control can generate vague disciplinary norms by disempowering leaders and teachers, pushing back issues of discipline, and fostering favoritism and nepotism. Findings also shed light on the way teachers experienced moral dilemmas of teaching and sustaining; being sources of teacher demoralization. In fact, they illuminated the ethical ramifications of schools’ culture of (in)discipline; with teachers being privy to ongoing moral wrongs and the perpetration of moral wrongs to others, vitiating student behavior and learning in the process. Theories of field and power are discussed in this new context of control.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2019
    EventAnnual Meeting of the American Sociological Association 2019 - New York, United States of America
    Duration: 10 Aug 201913 Aug 2019
    Conference number: 114th


    ConferenceAnnual Meeting of the American Sociological Association 2019
    Abbreviated titleASA 2019
    Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
    CityNew York
    Internet address

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