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Fear in and about education

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Fear is pervasive in schools. However, despite its prevalence, and despite the fact that fear has received increased attention within sociology generally, fear has been relatively neglected by sociologists of education. Yet, it behoves us as sociologists of education to seek to understand fear, as such understandings are important for developing theories and practices to promote social justice and well-being. This chapter focusses on fears in and about education. It draws on a large data set (over 180 interviews) to illustrate a) the pervasiveness of fear in schools; b) the complex and often ambivalent relationships that teachers have with fear (in inciting and also experiencing it); c) how attempts to lessen some fears exacerbate others; and d) the impacts of fears.