Misconceptions of schooling
Earlier chapters showed that explanations of mobility draw heavily
on assumptions about individual ability and achievement, rather than
structural constraints on opportunity, to account for class outcomes.
That individualistic discourse says achieving upward mobility and its
consequent social benefits is fair because those who are downwardly
mobile, or immobile at the bottom of the social hierarchy, deserve to
fail since they are lesser human beings who lack ‘ability’. Educational
This book rethinks meritocracy as a form of coloniality, namely, a social imaginary that reproduces narratives of ethnic and racial difference between European centres and peripheries, and between Europe and its others.
Drawing on interviews with working and middle class, white and Black Italians who moved to Britain after the 2008 economic crisis, the book explores the narratives of Northern meritocracy and Southern backwardness that inform migrants’ motivations for moving abroad, and how these narratives are experienced within classed, racialised and gendered migrations.
Connecting decolonial theory with the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, this book provides innovative insights into the relationships between meritocracy, coloniality and European whiteness, and into the social stratification of EU migrations.
gendered manifestations of identity, like physical appearance and dress code. Grazia never worked for Italians in England, nor in Italy, as she moved abroad right after high school. Her discussion tells us something about meritocracy as an imaginary , and about the practical, embodied dimension of social imaginaries. Meritocracy, here, is both a common-sense assumption – a doxa that reproduces hierarchies of European coloniality ( Chapter 1 ) – and a category of practice , which resonates with lived experience, potentially in contradictory ways. Indeed, Grazia
(Re)producing elites: meritocracy,
the state and the politics of the
curriculum in Singapore
Meritocracy today is no longer as Singaporeans have come to know
it. In the wake of what the Prime Minister of Singapore himself
admits as the city-state’s ‘watershed elections’ of 2011 (Lee, 2012)
– which saw, among others, the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP)
capturing a historically dismal 60% of the popular vote and two cabinet
ministers losing their electoral seats – the founding ideology of the
world’s most successful
The rise of the meritocracy?
The rise of the meritocracy?
New Labour and education in the
Education remains the Government’s top priority. (DfES, 2001a, p 5)
A New Labour government was re-elected in June 2001 and continued
to stress education as a major means of improving the nation’s economic
competitiveness, while encouraging social cohesion and enhancing
individual life chances. However, whereas from 1997 to 2001 it had
continued the Conservative government’s pre-1997 reforming zeal – when
every area of
if she considered that Britons’ attentiveness to “language” was perhaps just “hypocrisy”. Her understanding of global hierarchies, with “Anglo-Saxon” countries on top and Italy “lagging behind”, had not drastically changed. However, employment was no longer a social field to which these ideas could be applied easily. She invoked a narrative of historical decline and sector-specific competition to make sense of her individual experiences vis-à-vis Italian imaginaries of meritocracy. England still resonated with a sense of social distinction and belonging to a more
This book has sought to examine in detail how discourses of ‘ability’ as fixed and measurable, embedded within broader discourses of meritocracy, reproduce inequalities in education. I have argued that ability as discourse is a set of parameters which define and maintain acceptable truths within schooling, which can have pernicious effects. Two developments in education, related to data and to neuroscience, were used to consider how ability discourses operate at this historical juncture – within the current episteme – in a neoliberal
, is this a fair test? Rather than happily entangling civic and domestic values, some students made a conscious effort to disentangle notions of personal care (which they valued in the classroom) from civic tests. This section also gives some brief historical context to the fluctuating role of domestic values in education, stressing the primacy of context for determining the appropriateness of such values, as argued by students themselves.
Finally, we look at the relationship between character education and meritocracy, focusing on complex entanglements between
Mario: [Italy] is not a country that offers opportunities, it’s not a country in which I recognize myself, because I think there are many people [pause] we all know it, because everyone talks about it, there are many people who are not rewarded because of meritocracy, but for other reasons, endless corruption, if you get rewarded it is because you know someone, you find a job and you don’t even know if they’ll pay you. It’s an economic crisis, yes, it’s a crisis of people really, we’re fuckers, idiots, we’re unable to take our lives in our hands, we let
Education systems and meritocracy:
social origin, educational and status
Andreas Hadjar and Rolf Becker
Meritocracy, educational and status attainment
In modern societies, education is one of the main mechanisms in the
reproduction of inequalities in terms of an existing link between social
origin and destination class across the life course (see, for example,
DiPrete and Eirich, 2006; Müller and Jacob, 2008; Müller and Kogan,
2010). Education is strongly linked to life chances – income, political
participation, health, subjective