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Session Overview
RN10_07b_IC: Educational Systems: Comparisons and Transitions
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Location: Intercontinental - Athenaeum CC II
Athenaeum Intercontinental Hotel Syngrou Avenue 89-93 Athens, Greece Floor: Lobby Level

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Educational Divide in the Quality of Life: Evidence from European Societies

Bernadette Müller Kmet

University of Innsbruck, Austria

Education matters when it comes to quality of life. This paper investigates educational differences in the four qualities of life suggested by Veenhoven (2000): (1) ‘livability of the environment’, which refers to living conditions and one’s position in society; (2) ‘life ability’, which is expressed in well-being and health; (3) ‘external utility of life’, which denotes the external worth of a life; and (4) ‘inner appreciation of life’, which refers to life satisfaction and happiness.

Although the findings of various studies occasionally reveal contradictory effects, the overall pattern shows that high educational levels are related to greater overall life satisfaction and well-being, better living and housing conditions, higher social status and better health conditions. By contrast, lower educational levels often lead to contrary outcomes (even when controlled for income and other socio-economic variables). This paper addresses the following questions: Are there cross-national differences in the size of the educational gaps regarding the four qualities of life? What societal factors may account for these cross-national differences?

In order to answer these research questions, I conduct multivariate analyses using data from the seventh wave of the European Social Survey (ESS). The findings indicate that there are cross-national differences in the size of the educational gaps regarding the four qualities of life. For instance, respondents with a tertiary education show a greater life satisfaction than those with at most lower secondary education. This educational gap varies considerably across countries: It is smallest among Nordic countries and largest among post-communist countries. Finally, the educational divide is discussed in the light of welfare and education regimes that may mitigate the educational divide when it comes to quality of life.

The Role of Education in Vertical and Horizontal Differentiation: A Cross-National Comparison

Will Atkinson

University of Bristol, United Kingdom

This paper engages with the theme of education as a contemporary source of social division by testing the contemporary applicability and generalisability of Pierre Bourdieu’s model of ‘social space’ developed in Distinction. In this model, cultural capital – often proxied by educational level – is key in two respects: as a component of vertical differentiation within society alongside economic and social capital; and as an element of horizontal differentiation, opposing those richer in economic capital and those richer in cultural capital. Subjecting data for twenty countries drawn from the International Social Survey Programme to multiple correspondence analysis, Bourdieu’s model is generally found to hold good for a wide range of nations in the 21st Century. There are, however, important national differences, particularly in relation to the strength of horizontal differentiation. Moreover, while education is indeed heavily bound up with vertical differentiation, horizontal differences are often based more on parental education level that respondents’. This perhaps indicates an effect of the growth of higher education systems in many nations, namely, the increasing reliance on educational credentials among all members of the dominant class for reproduction of their position – a trend already spotted by Bourdieu.

What can European theories explain about the reality of the South?

Amurabi Oliveira

Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil

In recent years there has been a growing debate on the so-called "theories of the South", which has made visible the need to seek new theoretical contributions to think about the social realities of the "Global South", and this has been perceived in several fields of Sociology. It includes the Sociology of Education. In this paper I intend to hold a theoretical debate on the potentialities and limits of "northern" sociological theories in explaining the "southern" educational realities. This is not only to indicate the need for development of new theoretical contributions from the perspective of "southern", but also to recognize how we need to rethink "northern" theories, reframing them in other social contexts. I will take as a thread of my debate the question of affirmative action in higher education in Brazil, especially those of racial character.

Segregated education, youth radicalisation and European security: The case of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Maja Halilovic-Pastuovic

Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Security in relation to Bosnia is very timely and relevant issue. The conflict that happened in Bosnia was the bloodiest conflict in modern European history and the first case of genocide in Europe since the Second World War. The conflict ended 22 years ago with the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement and Bosnia is presently an EU candidate country. The Agreement has secured peace but has left this ethnically diverse country a divided society. There exist significant divisions in all spheres of social life between the main ethnicities in Bosnia, i.e. Bosnian Muslims, Croats and Serbs, and significant levels of mistrust, alienation and ghettoization between these populations.

The focus of the paper is the segregated education system in Bosnia and, in particular, the phenomenon of ‘two schools under one roof’ that currently operates in the country (TSUOR). TSUOR describes a policy of ethnic segregation which was introduced by the Dayton Agreement to schools in Bosnia. Muslim, Croat and Serb children attend classes in the same building but are physically separated into different classrooms and taught ethnically differentiated curricula. The paper investigates if two decades of segregated education in Bosnia have had a negative impact on security by creating fertile ground for youth radicalisation in the country.

The paper uses Foucault’s theorisations of biopolitics and Durkheim’s concept of homo duplex to investigate the current situation in Bosnia. It argues that while actual combat may have ceased, the ethnic conflict continues in the field of education where schools represent the new battlefields.

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