‘Quiet activism’ in schools: Conceptualising the relationships between the personal, the political and the Political in education

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This paper presents a novel conceptualisation of the school context by examining the ‘personal’ (emotional well-being), the ‘political’ (every-day political actions and power relations) and the ‘Political’ (the Political system, including electoral politics and governmental policy) and how these interrelate. Informed by literatures from a range of disciplines, we use this conceptual lens to consider data from two projects which explored the impact of austerity on schools. In our qualitative analysis of data from interviews with 82 participants we illustrate connections between the personal, the political and the Political. We conceptualise the work schools are doing in response to the impacts of the Political as quiet political activism, which appears to have knock-on effects for the well-being of staff. Implications of this are considered, concluding that the ‘quiet politics’ occurring in schools may bring a sense of control and create opportunities for community activism, but also has potentially worrying consequences.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-408
Number of pages18
JournalCambridge Journal of Education
Issue number3
Early online date12 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2020

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