Unveiling Exclusion: A Conceptual Exploration of Parent Pedagogicalisation





Parent pedagogicalisation, Exclusion, Normalisation, Conceptual Analysis, Governing Parents


CONTEXT The study investigates the concept of parent pedagogicalisation, with the aim to explore, as well as articulate, its analytical content. The notion of parent pedagogicalisation involves normalising forces governing parents to take responsibility for children’s educational achievement, especially targeting the child who differs from the norm and whose achievement is at risk. Set against the background of current global educational tendencies aiming at standardisation and marketisation, understandings of ‘normal’ become increasingly narrower, excluding an increasing number of children. The narrowing perceptions of what is considered ‘normal’ induce a fear of exclusion from educational opportunities and subsequent, future citizenship. In this climate, parents are ascribed a significant role in the child’s education. Within this context, and especially in cases involving children considered ‘outside of normalcy’, pedagogicalisation of the parent entails educating parents about how to support their child’s educational achievement.
METHODS Through empirical exploration of parents’ narratives, this study investigates the content of the concept of parent pedagogicalisation with the purpose to provide a theoretical lens that may support the identification of pedagogicalizing forces and possible implications for parents and children. The data consists of parents’ narratives on their experiences with educational follow-up after their child’s cochlear implantation. This empirical sample has been strategically chosen, consisting of a specific group of parents, who, in an educational context, are expected to be exposed to pedagogicalisation. The data contains 27 written narrative responses to an online, qualitative questionnaire with open-ended questions, and 14 follow-up interviews.
FINDINGS Data analysis identified three key dimensions central to the content of the concept of parent pedagogicalisation, 1) Parents’ perceived need for knowledge, 2) An instrumental perspective on supporting the child’s learning, and 3) No respite.
KEY MESSAGE Our proposition is that these dimensions make up the conceptual construct of parent pedagogicalisation. The three interwoven dimensions demonstrate a complexity and width that indicate implications for the parents and children involved. Potential implications are discussed in relation to a) Parents caught in the nexus between empowerment and disempowerment, and b) The pedagogicalisation of parents - a counterproductive paradox. The significance of parental involvement for children’s educational achievement notwithstanding, the analysis shows that parent pedagogicalisation and its inherent normalising practices may be detrimental to the parents and children involved, acting oppressive and exclusionary. Awareness of the mechanisms involved in parent pedagogicalisation may contribute to the identification and reduction of the associated exclusionary forces, thus encouraging a more inclusionary discourse.

Author Biographies

Marieke Bruin, University of Stavanger

Associate professor

Anne Nevøy, University of Stavanger, Norway

Associate professor


Archbold, S., & Wheeler, A. (2010). Cochlear implants: Family and young people's perspectives. In M. Marschark & P. E. Spencer (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of deaf studies, language, and education (Vol. 2, pp. 226-240). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195390032.013.0015

Assarsson, L., & Aarsand, P. (2011). "How to be good": Media representations of parenting. Studies in the Education of Adults, 43(1), 78-92. https://doi.org/10.1080/02660830.2011.11661605

Baez, B., & Talburt, S. (2008). Governing for responsibility and with love: Parents and children between home and school. Educational Theory, 58(1), 25-43. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-5446.2007.00274.x

Barrett DeWiele, C. Е., & Edgerton, J. D. (2015). Parentocracy revisited: Still a relevant concept for understanding middle class educational advantage? Interchange, 47(2), 189-210. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10780-015-9261-7

Biesta, G. (2007). Why "what works" won't work: Evidence-based practice and the democratic deficit in educational research. Educational Theory, 57(1), 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-5446.2006.00241.x

Biesta, G. (2009). Good education in an age of measurement: On the need to reconnect with the question of purpose in education. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 21, 33-46. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11092-008-9064-9

Biesta, G. J. J. (2013). The beautiful risk of education. Paradigm Publishers. https://doi.org/10.5117/PED2014.1.POLS

Bloch, M., & Popkewitz, T. S. (2000). Constructing the parent, teacher, and child: Discourses of development. In D. L. Soto (Ed.), The politics of early childhood education (pp. 7-32). Peter Lang Publishers.

Booth, T. (2000). Inclusion and exclusion policy in England: Who controls the agenda? In F. Armstrong, D. Armstrong, & L. Barton (Eds.), Inclusive education: Policy, contexts and comparative perspectives (pp. 78-98). David Fulton Publishers. https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/858y6/inclusion-and-exclusion-policy-in-england-who-controls-the-agenda

Bosteels, S., Van Hove, G., & Vandenbroeck, M. (2012). The roller-coaster of experiences: Becoming the parent of a deaf child. Disability & Society, 27(7), 983-996. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2012.705059

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101. https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa

Bruin, M. (2017). Parents' Experiences on Follow-up of Children's Language Learning after Cochlear Implantation (Publication Number 351) University of Stavanger]. Stavanger.

Bruin, M., & Ohna, S. E. (2015). Negotiating Reassurance: Parents’ Narratives on Follow-up after Cochlear Implantation. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 30(4), 518-534. https://doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2015.1046741

Cruz, I., Quittner, A. L., Marker, C., & Desjardin, J. L. (2013). Identification of effective strategies to promote language in deaf children with cochlear implants. Child Development, 84(2), 543-559. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01863.x

Depaepe, M., Herman, F., Surmont, M., Van Gorp, A., & Simon, F. (2009). About pedagogization: From the perspective of the history of education. In P. Smyers & M. Depaepe (Eds.), Educational research: Vol. 3. The educationalization of social problems (pp. 13-30). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9724-9_2

Depaepe, M., & Smeyers, P. (2008). Educationalization as an ongoing modernization process. Educational Theory, 58(4), 379-389. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-5446.2008.00295.x

Foucault, M. (1975). Discipline and punish. The birth of the prison [Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison]. Penguin Books Ltd.

Foucault, M. (1982). The subject and power. Critical Inquiry, 8(4), 777-795. https://doi.org/10.1086/448181

Foucault, M. (1991). Governmentality. In G. Burchell, C. Gordon, & P. Miller (Eds.), The Foucault Effect: Studies in governmentality with two lectures by and an interview with Michel Foucault (pp. 87-104). University of Chicago Press.

Foucault, M. (1997). On the government of the living. In P. Rabinow (Ed.), Essential works of Michel Foucault 1954-1984. Ethics: Subjectivity and truth. The New Press.

Furedi, F. (2008). Paranoid parenting. Continuum.

Gewirtz, S. (2008). Give us a break! A sceptical review of contemporary discourses of lifelong learning. European Educational Research Journal, 7(4), 414-424. https://doi.org/10.2304/eerj.2008.7.4.414

Gronemeyer, R. (1989). Die Entfernung vom Wolfsrudel: Über den drohenden Krieg der Jungen gegen die Alten [Withdrawal from the wolf pack: On the threatening war of the young against the old]. Claassen.

Guillemin, M., & Gillam, L. (2004). Ethics, reflexivity, and "ethically important moments" in research. Qualitative Inquiry, 10(2), 261-280. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800403262360

Hardonk, S., Desnerck, G., Loots, G., Matthijs, L., Van Hove, G., Van Kerschaver, E., Sigurjónsdóttir, H. B., Vanroelen, C., & Louckx, F. (2011). From screening to care: A qualitative analysis of the parental experiences related to screening and (re)habilitation care for children with congenital deafness in Flanders, Belgium. Volta Review, 111(3), 299-234. https://doi.org/10.17955/tvr.111.3.683

Illich, I., & Verne, E. (1974). Imprisoned in the global classroom. Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative.

Kainz, K., & Aikens, N. L. (2007). Governing the family through education: A genealogy on the home/school relation. Equity & excellence in education, 40(4), 301-310. https://doi.org/10.1080/10665680701610721

Kenway, J. (1990). Education and the Right’s discursive politics. Private versus state schooling. In S. J. Ball (Ed.), Foucault and education: Disciplines and knowledge (pp. 167-206). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203092781

Kvale, S., & Brinkmann, S. (2009). InterViews: Learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing. SAGE Publications Inc.

Lam, C. M., & Kwong, M. W. (2012). The "paradox of empowerment" in parent education: A reflexive examination of parents' pedagogical expectations. Family Relations, 61, 65-74. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3729.2011.00685.x

Matthijs, L., Loots, G., Mouvet, K., Van Herreweghe, M., Hardonk, S., Van Hove, G., Van Puyvelde, M., & Leigh, G. (2012). First information parents receive after UNHS detection of their baby’s hearing loss. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 17(4), 387-401. https://doi.org/10.1093/deafed/ens020

Nelson, M. K. (2010). Parenting out of control: Anxious parents in uncertain times. New York University Press. https://doi.org/10.18574/nyu/9780814759080.001.0001

NESH. (2021). Guidelines for research ethics in the social sciences, humanities, law and theology. The Norwegian National Research Ethics Committees. Retrieved August 30, 2022, from https://www.forskningsetikk.no/en/guidelines/social-sciences-humanities-law-and-theology/guidelines-for-research-ethics-in-the-social-sciences-humanities-law-and-theology/

Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training. (2010). Veileder for opplæring av barn og unge med hørselshemming [Instructions for education of deaf and hard-of-hearing children]. Oslo: Utdanningsdirektoratet. Retrieved from http://www.udir.no/Upload/5/Veileder_for_oppl%c3%a6ring_av_barn_og_unge_med_horselshemming_010211.pdf?epslanguage=no

Popkewitz, T. S. (2003). Governing the child and pedagogicalization of the parent: A historical excursus into the present. In M. N. Bloch, K. Holmlund, I. Moqvist, & T. S. Popkewitz (Eds.), Governing children, families and education. Restructuring the welfare state (pp. 35-61). Palgrave McMillan.

Popkewitz, T. S. (2009). The social, psychological, and education sciences: From educationalization to pedagogicalization of the family and the child. In P. Smyers & M. Depaepe (Eds.), Educational research: Vol. 3. The educationalization of social problems (pp. 171-190). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9724-9_12

Popkewitz, T. S., & Bloch, M. (2001). Administering freedom: A history of the present: Rescuing the parent to rescue the child for society. In K. Hultqvist & G. Dahlberg (Eds.), Governing the child in the new millenium (pp. 88, 90-91). RoutledgeFalmer. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203614525

Ragin, C. (1992). Introduction: Cases of “What is a case?”. In C. Ragin & H. S. Becker (Eds.), What is a case? Exploring the foundations of social inquiry (pp. 1-17). Cambridge University Press.

Ramaekers, S., & Suissa, J. (2012). The claims of parenting. Reasons, responsibility and society. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-2251-4

Ribolits, E., & Zuber, J. (2004). Pädagogisierung: Die Kunst, Menschen mittels Lernen immer dümmer zu machen! [Pedagogicalization: The art of making people increasingly stupid through learning!]. Studienverlag.

Sach, T. H., & Whynes, K. (2005). Paediatric cochlear implantation: The views of parents [Implantación coclear pediátrica: Los punto de vista de los progenitores]. International Journal of Audiology, 44(7), 400-407. https://doi.org/10.1080/14992020500146500

Sahlberg, P. (2011). The fourth way of Finland. Journal of Educational Change, 12(2), 173-185. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10833-011-9157-y

Saltmarsh, S., & McPherson, A. (2019). Un/satisfactory encounters: Communication, conflict and parent-school engagement. Critical Studies in Education, 63(2), 147-162. https://doi.org/10.1080/17508487.2019.1630459

Smeyers, P. (2009). Afterword. In P. Smyers & M. Depaepe (Eds.), Educational research: Vol. 3. The educationalization of social problems (pp. 227-238). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9724-9_16

Smith, R. (2009). The Pädagogisierung of philosophy. In P. Smeyers & M. Depaepe (Eds.), Educational research: Vol. 3. The educationalization of social problems (pp. 205-215). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9724-9_14

Smith, R. (2010). Total parenting. Educational Theory, 60(3), 357-369. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-5446.2010.00363.x

Suissa, J. (2006). Untangling the mother knot: Some thoughts on parents, children and philosophers of education. Ethics and Education, 1(1), 65-77. https://doi.org/10.1080/17449640600584987

Tomlinson, S. (2012). The irresistible rise of the SEN industry. Oxford Review of Education, 38(3), 267-286. https://doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2012.692055

Vincent, C. (2017). 'The children have only got one education and you have to make sure it's a good one': Parenting and parent-school relations in a neoliberal age. Gender and Education, 29(5), 541-557. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540253.2016.1274387

Young, A., & Tattersall, H. (2007). Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Early Identification of Deafness: Parents' Responses to Knowing Early and Their Expectations of Child Communication Development. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 12(2), 209-220. https://doi.org/10.1093/deafed/enl033

Young, I. M. (2006a). Education in the context of structural injustice: A symposium response. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 38(1), 93-103. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-5812.2006.00177.x

Young, I. M. (2006b). Taking the basic structure seriously. Perspectives on Politics, 4(1), 91-97. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1537592706060099