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 cultural and normative pluralism, globalized international policies and normative discourses, and “post-massification” equality of opportunity policies (often articulated with educational “quasi-market” mechanisms).
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ECER 2010 Keynote by Marie Verhoeven

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