Schooling the labouring classes: children, families, and learning in Wellington, 1840-1845
Middleton, S. (2008). Schooling the labouring classes: children, families, and learning in Wellington, 1840-1845. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 18(2), 133-146.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/1727
Published in London between 1839 and 1852 and aligned with the commercial objectives of the New Zealand Company, the New Zealand Journal included letters from emigrants. This paper studies letters written by a small cohort of rural labourers who emigrated from Ham House in Surrey to Wellington in 1841. Following Dorothy Smith, I read them as ethnographic data, interrogating them in relation to ruling-class texts including Company records, newspaper reports and correspondence between capitalists, professionals and politicians. The labourers’ letters depict capital-labour (class) and colonial (race) relations in embodied form. The everyday actualities of their activities were co-ordinated by extra-local social relations of colonialism and flows of capital and labour. Their schooling in England had been designed to ‘keep them in their place’. With reference to the sparse archival resources remaining from the first years of commercially-driven settlement, before there was an apparatus of state, I consider how changing material conditions in the settlement enabled and constrained learning opportunities for these labourers’ children.
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