Social Geographies of Education: Looking Within, and Beyond, School Boundaries

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Abstract

Schools have received less attention from geographers than institutions such as the clinic and the hospital – despite the fact that, for most people, encounters with sites of medicine are rarer than encounters with sites of education. Indeed, schools are central to the geographies of children and young people, and to the organization of much family life. Moreover, they play a central role in shaping social identities. In this article, we provide an introduction to, and review of, the literature that takes seriously the sociospatial dimensions of schooling. Our discussion is organized around two central themes: first, the organization of school space, and the ways in which it is implicated in issues of power, and the reproduction of preferred identities; second, the linkages between schools and broader communities, and what these tell us about the values and aspirations attached to schooling. In both respects, we suggest, schools are places of considerable social and political significance.

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