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Open days: The public presentation of schools

PDF (Español)

Published: 2021-06-21

Authors

Rafael Feito Alonso

Universidad Complutense de Madrid

http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0378-5152

Javier Rujas Martínez-Novillo

Universidad Complutense de Madrid

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0378-5152

Alberto Sánchez Rojo

Universidad Complutense de Madrid

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2532-5867

Keywords: open days; sociology of education; participant observation; educational marketing; school competition

Abstract

This paper deals with the way schools –state schools and public-funded private ones– present themselves to their potential users in open days. It draws on qualitative fieldwork based on participant observation conducted in such events in 31 schools of Madrid. In these events, schools mobilize their material, human, and symbolic resources to produce an appealing school image, even though differences arise depending on the kind of school (public, private), the courses offered, and the social composition of the neighborhood. Public-funded private schools have in general more attractive buildings and facilities, an interest in recruiting pupils in every stage, and show a greater investment of resources and efforts than state schools to build a school image. This allows them to craft an apparently more coherent and solid narrative than state schools, where pupils spend less years, there is greater teacher mobility and a lack of educational marketing professional counselling. In open days, schools communicate explicit messages and implicit impressions, and reveal the image they want to display as well as the one they wish to avoid. These events are part of school’s strategies in a competitive school market, while at the same time they entail an exposure to the public eye as they can be judged and compared.

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Author Biographies

Rafael Feito Alonso

Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Catedrático de Sociología de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Es autor de Nacidos para perder. Un análisis sociológico del rechazo y del abandono escolares (Madrid, CIDE, 1990), Estructura social contemporánea. Las clases sociales en los países industrializados (Madrid, Siglo XXI, 1995), Clases sociales y comportamiento político en España (Madrid, Entinema, 1998), Los retos de la educación obligatoria (Barcelona, Ariel, 2000), Una educación de calidad para todos. Reforma y contrarreforma educativas en la España actual (Madrid, Siglo XXI, 2002), Otra escuela es posible (Madrid, Siglo XXI, 2006), Construyendo escuelas democráticas (compilador junto con J. I. López, Hipatia, Barcelona, 2008), Los retos de la participación escolar (Madrid, Morata, 2011), ¿Qué hace una escuela como tú en un siglo como este? (Madrid, La Catarata, 2020) y de numerosos artículos en revistas especializadas y generalistas. Fue colaborador del Movimiento por la Calidad de la Educación en el Sur y Este de Madrid, miembro de la ejecutiva de la Federación de Padres y Madres de Madrid (Francisco Giner de los Ríos) y presidente de la Asociación de Sociología de la Educación.

Javier Rujas Martínez-Novillo

Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Javier Rujas holds a PhD in Sociology (UCM, 2015), with a thesis entitled Sociology of school failure in Spain: the construction and management of a social problem. He has participated in several research projects in the field of sociology of education and has been visiting scholar at the Centre Européen de Sociologie et Science Politique (CESSP, EHESS Paris), and the Institute of Education (IOE, London). His research interests include sociology of education and culture, school failure, school leaving and return, the public construction of social and educational problems, education policy enactments and institutional devices, qualitative research, and ethnographic and sociohistorical approaches. He is also founding member of the social research cooperative Indaga (www.indaga.org).

Alberto Sánchez Rojo

Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Doctor Europeo con Premio Extraordinario en Conocimiento Pedagógico Avanzado (2016) por la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, donde ejerce actualmente como Profesor Ayudante Doctor y Secretario Académico en el Departamento de Estudios Educativos. Sus líneas de investigación se centran fundamentalmente en el análisis de la realidad educativa desde una perspectiva teórica, social y política.

PDF (Español)

Published: 2021-06-21

How to Cite

Feito Alonso, R., Rujas Martínez-Novillo, J., & Sánchez Rojo, A. (2021). Open days: The public presentation of schools. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 29(January - July), 86. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.29.6117