Crafting the English welfare state— interventions by Birmingham Local Education Authorities, 1948–1963

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Christian Ydesen, Associate Professor at the University of Aalborg and current IASH-SPS Visiting Fellow, will give a talk as part of the SPSS Social Policy seminar series.

Discussant: Mark Wong, PhD student Social Policy


2 March 2016
3-4.30 pm
Medical School, Teviot – G.16 Seminar Room – Doorway 4


The presentation will throw light on the range of education professionals and their interventions against deviance understood as the ‘problem child’ or the ‘ineducable child’. I argue that these interventions played a central role in successfully establishing schools as social administrators in England during the constitutive years of English welfare state formation. Using Birmingham local education administration as an empirical and historical case, the influential Children Acts of 1948 and 1963 serve to demarcate the period examined. The theoretical framework is drawn from Bourdieu and Wacquant’s concept of state, with the key concept being ‘state-crafting’. The article contributes to knowledge about the imaginaries, and the manufacturing and managing of ‘the public good’—understood as a referent for modern governing—of the English welfare state.

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