ECER 2010 Keynote by Marie Verhoeven
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ECER 2010 Keynote by Marie Verhoeven

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Marie Verhoeven is Professor at the Université catholique de Louvain. At ECER 2010, she will analyse how cultural domination through schooling process has to be rethought, in a context which combines ...

Marie Verhoeven is Professor at the Université catholique de Louvain. At ECER 2010, she will analyse how cultural domination through schooling process has to be rethought, in a context which combines cultural and normative pluralism, globalized international policies and normative discourses, and “post-massification” equality of opportunity policies (often articulated with educational “quasi-market” mechanisms).
More details here: http://www.eera-ecer.eu/ecer/ecer2010/keynote-speakers/marie-verhoeven/
The recording of the keynote is here:
http://www.eera-ecer.eu/ecer/ecer2010/channel-2/

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ECER 2010 Keynote by Marie Verhoeven ECER 2010 Keynote by Marie Verhoeven Presentation Transcript

  • Multiple embedded inequalities and cultural diversity in education systems : a theoretical and empirical exploration Contribution to Helsinki 2010 ECER conference «  Education and Cultural change  » Marie Verhoeven
  • Introduction ( 1 ) : main objective & perspective
    • A reflection on social construction of cultural diversity in the field of education, with a view to social justice.
    • “ How do educational systems deal with “cultural diversity” and how do they socially organize it, at different scales of analysis ? »
  • Introduction ( 2 ) : three initial standpoints
    • The social construction of cultural diversity : the need for a sociological pragmatist approach
    • Examining how redistribution, recognition and power interweave as they are embedded within educational organisations
    • Pupils’ schooling experience is shaped by such unequal environments
  • Outline of the presentation
    • Analysing the multiple embedded inequalities in education : some initial theoretical considerations
    • Multiple embedded inequalities and cultural diversity : a threefold empirical illustration
      • Macro-level (educational systems)
      • Intermediate level (local spaces of interdependency)
      • Micro-level (local schools policies)
    • (Consequences for pupils and schooling experience)
    • Multiple embedded inequalities : some theoretical considerations
    • I. 1. Towards a multidimensional conception of educational justice
    • Integrating “distribution”, “recognition” and “power” (Fraser, 2004, 2005; Lynch and Baker, 2005)
      • Fraser “bi-dimensional” critical conception of social justice
      • A third dimension : power & agency
      • “ Parity of participation” and its obstacles
    • Pupils from “migrant post-colonial backgrounds” : a “mixed” social category
      • To what extent minority pupils are they made capable, through schooling, to become fully-fledged members of society ?
      • What kind of obstacles are they faced with, in terms of resources or in terms of recognition ?
  • I.2. The durable “embedment” of multiple inequalities throughout institutional and organisational configurations
    • C. Tilly (1999) : “ Durable inequality ” :
      • These multiple sources of inequality become durable as they are integrated and pragmatically enacted through institutionalised systems of values, organisations and “routines”
      • The “ matching ” between organisational categories and external categories, often essentialised (culture and ethnicity)
  • II. M ultiple embedded inequalities and cultural diversity in education : a multilevel empirical exploration
    • Aim : an empirical exploration of embedded multiple inequalities in institutionalised configurations
    • Three levels – scales of observation :
      • At a “macro-level” of analysis : education systems ability to deal equitably with cultural diversity
      • At an intermediate level : segregation and institutional discrimination in local spaces
      •   At a micro- level of analysis : local schools   policies
  • a) “Macro-level” : evaluating education systems’ ability to deal equitably with cultural diversity
    • Two relevant dimensions : national cultural patterns and broader patterns of social differentiation within educational systems
    • 2 complementary movements in research :
      • Research on “national cultural idioms” or “national integration models” (Brubaker, 1997; Castles S., Miller D., 1993) : usefulness and limits
        • Educational policies are shaped by cultural patterns about nation & culture
        • But limits : need to take political struggle and power relations into consideration
      • Renewing the debate on social inequalities in education : a crescent interest for the effects of the structure of education systems (Dupriez, Dumay, 2006; Duru-Bellat & Mons 2004….).
    • => Considering “broader patterns of differentiation ” to analyse the way education systems deal with cultural diversity
        • The way national integration models will actually be enacted depends on the structural features of educational systems
        • General patterns of social differentiation have an impact on educational opportunities for pupils from minority background
        • A challenge : analysing the separate and combined effects of cultural patterns and general structure of differentiation (Hoschild and Cropper, 2010)
  • b) Intermediate-level : segregation and institutional discrimination within “local spaces of interdependancy »
    • “ Local spaces of interdependency ” / local segments (S. Ball; Van Zanten & Broccholichi; Maroy…): a relevant scale for observation and analysis
    • Segregation and institutional discrimination structure “local spaces”, mixing social, educational and ethno-cultural forms of domination.
    • An empirical research on pupils from immigrant background school careers in the French Speaking Community of Belgium (Verhoeven, Rea, Martiniello & alii 2007).
  • b.1 The multidimensionality of segregation
      • Pupils from post-colonial minority backgrounds: some empirical evidence of multiple segregation axes
      • Multiple segregation axes shaping local spaces of interdependency and « circuits of schooling  » (
        • Circuits of schooling ( Van Zanten, S. Ball, Bowe & Gewirtz…) : unequal schooling dependency paths alongside a symbolical hierarchy
        • Quantitative data
        • Qualitative data :
          • A symbolical hierarchy of schools organised alongside complex lines
          • And reflected in actors’ representations and beliefs
            • Teachers “mental map”
            • Pupils « justifications » for choices and changes
  • b.2 Institutional discrimination an the embedment of multiple inequalities
    • “ Institutional discrimination ” : existence of social norms or institutional rules that systematically (although often unwillingly) lead to disadvantaging some social categories
    • Implicit or informal rules and routines structuring organisational processes such as pupils enrolment, pupils grouping, orientation …, are “ethnically biased”
    • Some official rules (such as grade retention/holding back rules…) may lead to institutional discrimination)
  • c) Micro-level perspective : analysing single schools local policy of dealing with (cultural) diversity
    • Analysing the “local policy of cultural diversity” : local integration models, curricular and pedagogical policy, and local organization of difference (organizational aspects)
    • The “local policy of cultural diversity” as part of a broader school strategy
    • “ Educational niche ” : 2 dimensions (narrative and instrumental).
    • Examples
        • From a comparative research of multicultural schools in Brussels and Birmingham
        • From a Belgian research on educational responses for undocumented children
    • = “ Opportuniy hoarding processes ” (Tilly) : matching of organisational differentiation (options, sets, classes…), social differentiation and ethnic differentiation.
  • III. Individual level : how embedded multiple inequalities profoundly shape individual school experience ?
    • Circuits of schooling and educational niches can be considered as unequal educational contexts which shape pupils’ educational experience and opportunities
  • Conclusion
    • Examining the “social organisation of cultural diversity” in education
    • Schooling inequality result from processes of social and cultural nature , which are practically intertwined
    • … and institutionalised in educational systems and organisational configurations , through social rules and routines (institutional discrimination)
    • Normative debate as well as empirical research are challenged by this « embedded multidimensionality »
    • Thank you !
    • [email_address]
    • GIRSEF – University-of-Louvain, Louvain la neuve, Belgium