Conference Agenda

RN10_10a: Social inequality in education - General considerations
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Adriana Aubert, University of Barcelona
Location: UP.3.210
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Third Floor Oxford Road


Educational Institutionalisation as Secularization. A Comparative-Historical Analysis of the Educational Secularization in Austria, Germany and Sweden.

Simon Gordt

University of Hildesheim, Germany

The formation of national education systems during the 19th century marks the beginning of modern schooling in Europe. Originally, education was part of the churches domain for centuries but became a fundamental feature of modern state particularly because of its value as a source of political power. Therefore, modern education has to be understood in the context of state and that is why educational institutionalization is interpreted as a secularization process.

Secularisation is a multi-dimensional concept and refers in this study to a decrease of religious authority. Thus, the school system is regarded as an institutional arrangement wherefore the state and the churches are their main actors because school systems are not only the result of historically specific cultural orientations and socio-economic conditions but also of power relations among interest groups.

In a comparative-historical perspective, this paper analyses in two steps how the Austrian, German and Swedish school systems secularized and why they followed the same path although they differ in their cultural heritage. The causal reconstruction of each national path is followed by a narrative comparison to identify their causal conditions. Based on the work of Martin (1978) and Rokkan (2000) it is argued that the similar state-church relation created in conjunction with their cultural and political conditions during the state- and nation building a specific setting of change, which was responsible for their similar educational institutionalisation.

These three school systems share one specific social pattern, which offers an explanation how each proceeded from a confessional to a secular school system.

How Do Characteristics of Education Systems Shape Educational Inequalities? Results of a Systematic Review

Laura Zapfe, Christiane Gross

Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg, Germany

The key role of social context for educational trajectories is well known since the so-called Coleman Report (1966) and has been the focus of the latest educational research. A multitude of studies analyzes the influence of educational system characteristics such as stratification, standardization and vocational orientation on educational inequality. Educational systems are considered to be “good” if they are permeable and provide equal opportunities for all students aside from their ascriptive characteristics. However, there is no systematic overview of the current research results. Therefore, this study analyzes the question how educational systems shape educational inequalities through a systematic review. We define educational inequalities as the variation of educational outcomes (such as competencies, attainment, credentials) linked to ascriptive characteristics (such as gender, social origin, migration background). The literature research is conducted in the database web of science/knowledge with 18 different keywords. The analysis of the abstracts and full texts takes six inclusion criteria into account which are derived from our research question. The research has to analyze educational system characteristics, educational inequality, educational outcomes as well as be an international comparison with at least five different countries, be published in English and refers to pupils. 11 studies meet the inclusion criteria which are supplemented by researching further studies which cited the original ones in order to include the latest texts. The abstracts and full texts of the supplementary studies are also screened against the inclusion criteria and must be additionally published in peer-reviewed journals. The literature review of the first studies will have been conducted prior to the ESA Conference in August and the results presented.

Academic Governance and the Field of Higher Education

Agnete Vabø1, Moa Maria Cecilia Lindqvist2, Mikael Börjesson2

1Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway; 2Uppsala university, Sweden

Changing modes of governance in higher education have apparently led to significant changes in relationships and power between different groups: students, academic staff, administrative staff, vice chancellors and external stakeholders. For instance, in Sweden the university boards have gone from a majority of in house-members to a majority of external members following the trend of New Public Management in general. This paper analyzes changes in governance model in Swedish higher education in relation the positions of the institutions within the overall field of higher education. We have interviewed all types of representatives on the boards of three different universities: a traditional full research university, a modern metropolitan university and young regional university. In these interviews, it is striking that the different types of members on the boards have dissimilar points of views of how a university ought to be organized and managed. There is also distinctively different focus: where teachers tend to emphasis professional dimension of the core activities, research and education, the local leadership steers towards policy issues in relation to the ministry of education and other national authorities, external representatives stress external demands on higher education and research. We can also notice that universities that attract students with larger volume of assets tend to be organized more in collegial ways and dispose boarder members with larger networks. Through our interviews, we have sought to investigate the relations between the university and the working life, the public sector, industry and the private sector to examine whether any of these relationships, more than anyone else, has changed the organization and orientation of the universities. In the end, what does this mean for Swedish higher education?

Multidimensional Social classification Applied to the Analysis of Educational Spaces

Ylva Bergström, Emil Bertilsson, Mikael Börjesson

Uppsala, Sweden

Analyses of social class have rendered a renewed interest given the rise of social and economic inequalities, recognized as historical high throughout many western countries, the Scandinavian welfare states included (Savage et al. 2013, Piketty 2013). This also involves discussions on how to understand analytical entities such as class, capital and occupation in today’s society. According to Savage et al (2015) the elites have distanced themselves from the rest and the precariat form a class beneath, while the class lines have become blurred and complex in the middle. In this paper we empirically investigate the current social structure of the Swedish society and, following the tradition developed by Bourdieu and collaborators (Bourdieu 1979), create a classification of social groups that rimes with the distribution of assets. We use the rich statistical material that is available on the Swedish population and examine the main classification system of occupations, SSYK-08 (built on 429 different occupations and aggregated into four levels) in order to analyze how these occupations are structured in the social space, constructed out of data on income, educational level, gender and work sector of the total population in Sweden 2015. Based on this analysis we propose a classification of 38 social groups (SEC-SOC-2019), which are optimized to capture the multidimensionality and complexity of the social space and yet be sufficiently aggregated and useful in concrete analysis. Finally, the constructed 38 social groups are applied in an analysis of the fields of higher education and upper secondary education in Sweden 2015.