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Mobius markets : professional families in rural educational markets

Publication Date
  • 130000 Education
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Mathematics


Australia has many isolated communities that require human services provided by qualified professionals. Maintaining a viable and equitable spread of such educational capital across space as a public good is a challenge. Reports investigating this problem repeatedly point to ‘family issues’ such as limited options for children’s education, and limited access to ongoing professional development, as deterrents for rural/remote employment despite lucrative incentive schemes. This paper draws on semi-structured interviews with 30 parents of school-aged children, who work as doctors, nurses, teachers and police in six rural/remote towns in Queensland. We asked them how their family units reconcile career opportunities with educational strategy for family members over time and space. This paper considers these issues as a sociology of education problem in a context of educational marketisation and spiralling credentialism. This paper offers the concept of ‘mobius markets’ to capture the cyclical and intergenerational process underway in middle class professional families of investing in educational capitals, maintaining or maximising their value and profiting from them. A mobius strip is the topological anomaly of a single loop with one twist in it, whereby the loop becomes one continuous surface, not the double-sided shape it appears to be. This project is interested in how the middle class professional family is similarly on a constant circuit, investing in educational capitals, upgrading their currency/value, and profiting from them. This elaborated sense of educational markets extends the more usual sociological focus on school choice.

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