School’s Out Forever

Here’s a recent talk I gave for the Oxford Brookes ‘Brave New World’ seminar series. In the talk I explore what new possibilities there may be to re-imagine schooling after the coronavirus pandemic. In particular, I argue that it’s time to move away from age- and phase-based schooling limited to assessed curricula and the physicalContinue reading “School’s Out Forever”

Schooling and Social Identity: new podcast I had a great time recently chatting with Mark Taylor of Education on Fire about Schooling and Social Identity. It’s an important time to be asking critical questions about schooling and socialisation. Is the current age-based system of organising learning in schools in need of radical change? Dr. Patrick Alexander from Oxford Brookes University sharesContinue reading “Schooling and Social Identity: new podcast”

Schooling and Social Identity: Learning to Act Your Age in Contemporary Britain

My new book with the above title is now out (Feb 2020) with Palgrave Macmillan. You can access the book here: – get your librarian to buy a copy! Here’s an outline of what the book is about: School’s Out, Forever My new book Schooling and Social Identitysuggests that the current age-based system ofContinue reading “Schooling and Social Identity: Learning to Act Your Age in Contemporary Britain”

Imagining the Future on A-Level Results Day

(originally posted here) In the moment when current school-leavers open their A-Level results letters today, new imagined futures will be conjured into existence, illuminating in new and sometimes unexpected ways the path that leads beyond the present. In this moment, young people may confirm imaginings of the future already well-forged through years of careful preparationContinue reading “Imagining the Future on A-Level Results Day”

Teaching Anthropology in Uncertain Times 

This post reaches you from a suitably changeable July afternoon in Oxford, with dark clouds hurrying across the sky, promising rain but giving over to occasional patches of good old-fashioned, elusive English Summer sunshine. I‘m reminded today of a similar summer afternoon last year, when I sat down with David Mills, the out-going editor ofContinue reading “Teaching Anthropology in Uncertain Times “

Life Course as Method: Age Imaginaries in School Ethnography

    Like most social scientists, my approach to methodology is in important ways entangled with personal narrative.  My interest in age as a field of social analysis emerged from my early experiences as a secondary school teacher.  As a twenty-three year-old trainee, I was barely older than the more senior teenage students in myContinue reading “Life Course as Method: Age Imaginaries in School Ethnography”

Brookes in the Bronx: Reflecting on A Year of Ethnography

Picture a 17 year-old girl who was shot in the head at a Freshman party, now wheelchair-bound, struggling to graduate. A young Latino man with ‘Game Over’ tattooed on his eyelids, leaving his gang affiliations behind to focus on schooling. A hard working, smiling, first generation migrant teen from Ghana, on his way with aContinue reading “Brookes in the Bronx: Reflecting on A Year of Ethnography”

Another High School Year Ends

In New York City this year, Spring came and went like the proverbial Yellow Cab. As if impatient even with the weather, New York hurried the crisp, sunny, English breeze of Spring out of the way, in favour of the thickening, humid air of summer. Where New York in winter is almost devoid of smells,Continue reading “Another High School Year Ends”

Brookes in the Bronx: Spring in the City

A week after Easter, with Passover coming to an end, and Spring has finally come to New York City. This morning the city is washed in windy sunshine, and temperatures are finally on the steady rise. You can tell from the number of slightly overweight hipster runners pounding the pavements of Brooklyn that summer isContinue reading “Brookes in the Bronx: Spring in the City”