28 SES 06, Elite Education, Intergenerational Transmission of Education and Inequality: Discourses and Practices
While indeed the notions of elite and excellence flourish the policy debate in German higher education, the discourses on elite formation in higher education have so far not been analyzed. Using the Elitenetzwerk Bayern (elite network Bavaria) as an example, this paper combines system theory and discourse theory to describe lines and patterns of argumentation patterns within the discourse.
The paper is part of a research project about equality and excellence in the german education system. Looking at the conflictual constitution of educational systems by equality and excellence, this perspective examines the discursive formation of two political rationalities in the contemporary German educational system that are directly opposed. While early childhood and primary education discourses are dominated by a terminology of equity, tertiary education institutions such as universities are described with a terminology of excellence that has become a reference point for political interventions and institutional reform processes.
Looking at the social construction of excellence, the paper examines the discursive formation and practical effects of one rationality in the contemporary system of education in Germany. In contrast to organisation-based research that revolves around institutions and agents, this study will examine which practices the colleges of the Elite-Netzwerk Bayern use to make organisational distinctions in the education system in terms of excellence and elite. At the level of subjectivation, this paper will show the forms in which the claims for excellence are translated into individual demands on teachers and students.
- Laclau, Ernesto/Mouffe, Chantal: Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics, Verso, 2nd Edition, 2001 - Nonhoff, Martin (2006): Politischer Diskurs und Hegemonie. Das Projekt ›Soziale Marktwirtschaft‹. Bielefeld: transcript. - Luhmann, Niklas (2002): Das Erziehungssystem der Gesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp
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