School choice in a stratified geography: class, geography, otherness, and moral boundaries

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13 Scopus citations


Using open-ended, semi-structured interviews, this study pulls together insights on social class and geography to explore how parents choose schools differently for their children in a unique Israeli setting. Querying parents’ feelings and perceptions about themselves and others in their immediate and distant locality offers an opportunity to uncover nuances in the ways parents appropriate and reproduce ideas of spatial privilege, social mixing, and social class and ethnic distinctions through their school choice. Within our setting of school-choice policy, working-class parents who we interviewed were far from passive recipients of education services, and in fact were actively engaged in choice, albeit in a way that differs from their middle-class counterparts. Privileged middle-class parents’ emotional considerations of place and choice reflect a sense of superiority and disinterest in social mixing. The emotional narratives expressed by our interviewed parents, I show, are driven by and reflect on parents’ social and cultural identity and group belonging as they claim the city’s space to be more than a spatial geography and emphasize its social and cultural meanings. These school-choice nuances, I argue, can be explained by drawing on the role of otherness and moral boundaries while reflecting on geography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Education Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor & Francis.


  • class
  • geography
  • otherness
  • school-choice
  • sociology


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