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The 'desegregation' of English schoolsBussing, race and urban space, 1960s-80s$
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Olivier Esteves

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526124852

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526124852.001.0001

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Babylon by bus: the quotidian experience of being bussed

Babylon by bus: the quotidian experience of being bussed

(p.171) 7 Babylon by bus: the quotidian experience of being bussed
The 'desegregation' of English schools

Olivier Esteves

Manchester University Press

This chapter relies almost wholly on ethnographic fieldwork, i.e. interviews of formerly bussed pupils sharing their recollections some decades later. An analysis is provided of their broad sociological profile and how this may impact their memories of bussing. Then, various pragmatic elements about the bussing routine are studied, as well as the way racism in the dispersal schools was an unchallenged norm. Just as importantly, bussing’s effect was in fact to segregate rather than to integrate children in various kinds of ways. The fieldwork also illustrates sometimes the way individual children or families managed to circumvent certain demands through their seeming compliance and calculated conformity. Lastly, some exceptions to how negative bussing was are studied, as well as the way bussing ‘toughened up’, with hindsight, many of the interviewees themselves.

Keywords:   Oral history, Segregation v. Integration, Immigrant and children agency, Bureaucratic myopia, Racism, Racist physical and verbal violence

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