Trust schools and the politics of persuasion and the mobilisation of interest

Simon Warren*, Darren Webb, Anita Franklin, Julian Bowers-Brown

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper sets out the theoretical and methodological approach of a study of the politics of persuasion and the mobilisation of interest in relation to the Trust schools initiative in England. Drawing on the discourse theoretical approach of Laclau and Mouffe the paper argues that the politics of consensus associated with New Labour reconfigures the field of politics, closing down legitimate democratic space. Building on this approach and that of policy sociology the paper outlines how the researchers seeks to address the following questions - if the space for legitimate democratic debate is so severely constrained then how does a social democratic government deal with the kind of opposition that Labour faced in relation to Trust schools? How do governments persuade dissident citizens to support unpopular policies? How are citizens mobilised to support such policies? This also raises questions about how, in such a restricted political space, do those questioning or resisting such policies, engage in the politics of persuasion and the mobilisation of interests? The reconfiguration of the field of politics and what this means for the constitution of legitimate democratic debate is the object of study of the research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Education Policy
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)839-853
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Discourse/analysis
  • Laclau and mouffe
  • New labour
  • Policy sociology
  • Politics
  • Trust schools

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