The new educational pastorate: link workers, pastoral power and the pedagogicalisation of parenting

Fretwell, Nathan ORCID logoORCID: (2020) The new educational pastorate: link workers, pastoral power and the pedagogicalisation of parenting. Genealogy, 4 (2) , 37. ISSN 2313-5778 [Article] (doi:10.3390/genealogy4020037)

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Home-school relations, home learning and parental engagement are prominent educational policy issues, constituting one aspect of a wider parenting support agenda that has suffused the landscape of social policy over the last two decades. This article examines a parenting support initiative distinctive for its use of link workers in mobilising ‘hard to reach’ parents to engage more effectively with their children’s education. Drawing on qualitative data gathered during the evaluation of the initiative, the article frames link worker–parent interactions as a form of everyday government and pastoral power. Link workers constitute a new educational pastorate; through friendship, care and control they exercise pastoral power over parents. Building on recent research into the role of ‘pastors’ in producing neoliberal subjectivities within the National Health Service, the article foregrounds their efforts to foster responsible, self-disciplined agency in parents. Link workers, it is argued, contribute to a responsibilisation and pedagogicalisation of the family, which has produced new figures of mothering/parenting, reconfigured the meaning of the home and extended the scope of state intervention into family life.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining ‘Childhood, Motherhood, Family and Community’
Keywords (uncontrolled): Link workers, parental engagement, pastoral power, governmentality, Foucault, pedagogicalisation, responsibilisation
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Education
Item ID: 29604
Notes on copyright: © 2020 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
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Depositing User: Nathan Fretwell
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2020 14:43
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2020 19:14

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