Parents who get what they want: On the empowerment of the powerful

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This paper addresses the issue of parent involvement in school life in the newly emerging realm of commodified education. It explores the limits of empowerment and its context-dependent nature. The case under scrutiny is that of parent organising in an established Tel Aviv area, who demanded a share in the shaping of their children's education. These demands were couched in a hierarchy of moderate-status teachers and prestigious parents and backed by the parents' resources and their capability of effective organising. As the case unfolded, conflicts between the parents and the educational system turned into a paralysing factor, which further eroded the teachers' prestige and humiliated weaker parents within the community. Empowerment, commonly hailed as a desirable goal, may thus become an additional resource for the powerful, constituting less resourceful populations as passive and indifferent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-90
Number of pages29
JournalSociological Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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