07 SES 01 B, Inclusion and Exclusion at School
The paper ties in with two prevalent developments regarding the recent migration discourse that can be observed in numerous European countries. First, in the context of market liberalism, immigrants are increasingly being framed in regard to their economic potential. In Germany, this has resulted in several provisions facilitating the recruitment of ‘(highly) skilled migrants’, which goes hand in hand with efforts to ease access to the labour market for immigrants and refugees. At the same time, racist constructions of a sovereign nation state are being reinforced, increasingly influenced by the current revival of right-wing populist movements and parties in Germany and other European countries. This has resulted in a push to further close national and external borders, while championing new surveillance practices that monitor immigrants.
While these two perspectives on immigration may appear to be contradictory, they intertwine and reinforce each other in various ways. Public opinion surveys in Germany have shown that a widely spread orientation on norms and ideologies of self-optimization, individual economic performance and competition often correlate with rigid demands to exclude immigrants if they are regarded as ‘weak' and ‘unprofitable' (cf. Zick/Klein 2014). This perspective has divided immigrants into two categories: those who are seen as ‘economically valuable’ and those who are not seen as such (cf. Lentin/Titley 2011). This binary is also encountered in the interplay of labour-market and integration policies, which tend to frame immigrants as ethnicized ‘entrepreneurs of their selves’ who need to be ‘activated’ in market logics (cf. Bröckling 2007; Guitíerez Rodríguez 2003).
My paper asks to which extent the described discourses and ambiguities penetrate into the school, its institutional framework, and educational concepts as well as into the attitudes and actions of teachers. By doing so, I consider the school as an essential social space, where ideas of migration-related difference and belonging are negotiated, and where discourses of othering are reproduced (cf. Quehl 2005). In order to take a closer look at the relationship between the described discourses and current processes of inclusion and exclusion in schools, my analysis focuses on inner-city secondary schools in Berlin. First, I am going to trace how economic imperatives of performance, competition, self-responsibility and activation have been incorporated into education and migration policies in Berlin since the 1990th. With reference to discourse and governmentality theories, I reconstruct how an (ethnical) “economization of the social” (Bröckling/Krasmann/Lemke 2000), especially regarding the processes of integration and education, gradually takes place in Berlin. I will then examine how these discourses impact the schools, and especially the teachers’ attitudes towards parents with different social and migration backgrounds. This will allow me to retrace how market logics have become racialized, leading to the framing of "unemployed parents with a migration background" in schools. I follow by focusing on the consequences of this framing for parents and their children in school. Moreover, I assess how institutional practices of inclusion and exclusion are justified through a meritocratic – and seemingly universalist – institutionalized knowledge. Since I don’t consider the political and institutional discourses to be totalitarian, I conclude by questioning the extent that pedagogical practices can challenge these discourses and impact social change. I also question the role that parents can play to break up the dominant (discursive) knowledge about them.
The research questions raised are tackled by a dispositive-analytical approach. According to Foucault, a dispositive means “a thoroughly heterogeneous ensemble consisting of discourses, institutions, architectural forms, regulatory decisions, laws, administrative measures“ (Foucault 1980: 194) and other elements which are interconnected with the (self-)perceptions of subjects and, thus, release and support a specific social power/knowledge in a certain field. By focussing on the ways that elements of the dispositive interrelate, Foucault further defines the dispositive as “the network that can be established between these elements” (ibid.), which regulates power/knowledge in historical processes in a strategic way. An analysis of dispositives “rests on the view that different social acts alter what has been and that history in this way is a constant repetition of minor ruptures” (Raffnsøe/Gudmand-Høyer/Thaning 2016: 278). Therefore, a dispositive does not represent a closed entity, but a complex figure that is often over-determined and constantly contributes to "shifts and changes of normality zones and borders" (Bublitz 2003:159). My dispositive-analytical approach therefore consists of two-steps. I first analysed migration and education policy documents (resolutions, recommendations, programmes, guidelines and press releases), which have been published by the Berlin Senate and local authorities since 2000. I then analysed a total of 30 qualitative interviews I conducted with school staff (teachers, head teachers and social education workers) from secondary schools in Berlin-Kreuzberg and -Neukölln as well as with parents, whose children go to school in these districts and who are often labelled as parents with ‘Turkish’ and/or ‘Arabic background’. In a multiple coding procedure, I identify (1.) the dominant political and institutional perceptions about migration in general and parents with a so called migration background in particular, (2.) related political regulations, laws and administrative measures, (3.) corresponding educational practices and perceptions by the school staff and (4.) (self-)perceptions of parents and their ways of affirming, reflecting and questioning dominant political and institutional perspectives on them. By relating these findings to each other, I ask how a certain power/knowledge about migration-related heterogeneity and parents in schools is (re)produced by the interplay of the different dispositive elements stated above. Just as relevant, I ask which modes of governing are associated with this relationship within a broader transformation of the social (cf. Foucault 2006). My focus lies on racialized economic logics that spawns new administrative measures and practices that serve to exclude minorities in public schools.
The paper traces how culturalistic perceptions are consequently being strengthened in schools by neoliberal perspectives on migrant-related heterogeneity, especially via meritocratic and seemingly egalitarian positions. As a consequence, migrant parents are not only ‘othered’ according to dominant perceptions of their ‘cultural, national and/or religious background’. They became also objects of normalizing and disciplining mechanisms within the context of performance-based and managerialistic principles. Those dynamics correlate with current migration policies and educational reforms as they can be observed not only in Germany but also in other post-liberal states in Europe. Here, the interplay between political and institutional discourses, laws, administrative measures, pedagogical perceptions and educational practices lead to a ‘multiplication and flexibilization of borders’. All the while, it strengthens and normalises historical practices of ‘excluding inclusion’. These dynamics make it (even more) difficult for those affected to reflect and react to experiences of racist exclusion. It also hinders their ability to develop (collective) strategies against it. However, the fusion of economic and racist logics does not always silence the parents. In some cases, parents are aware of the special role attributed to them. Those who are treated ‘differently’ may feel a stronger sense of injustice, leading to new forms of solidarity with other parents. In turn, this can facilitate creative – and mostly subtle – strategies to counter discrimination in schools.
- Bröckling, Ulrich (2007): Das unternehmerische Selbst. Soziologie einer Subjektivierungsform. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. - Bröckling, Ulrich/Krasmann, Susanne/Lemke, Thomas (Hrsg.) (2000): Gouvernementalität der Gegenwart. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. - Bublitz, Hannelore (2003): Diskurs. Bielefeld: transcript. - Foucault, Michel (2006): Die Geburt der Biopolitik. Geschichte der Gouvernementalität II. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. - Foucault, Michel (1980): ‘The Confessions of the Flesh’. In: Foucault, Michel (ed.): Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings. New York: Pantheon Books. pp. 194–228. - Guitíerez Rodríguez, Encarnación (2003): Gouvernementalität und die Ethnisierung des Sozialen. Migration, Arbeit und Biopolitik. In: Pieper, Marianne/Encarnación, Encarnación (Hrsg.): Gouvernementalität. Ein sozialwissenschaftliches Konzept im Anschluss an Foucault. Frankfurt/New York: Campus Verlag. S. 161-178. - Lentin, Alana/Titley, Gavan (2011): The Crisis of Multiculturalism. Racism in a Neoliberal Age. London/New York: Zed books. - Quehl, Thomas (2005): Immer noch die Anderen? Ein rassismuskritischer Blick auf die Normalität schulischer Bildungsbenachteiligung. In: Broden, Anne/Mecheril, Paul (Hrsg.): Rassismus bildet. Bildungswissenschaftliche Beiträge zu Normalisierung und Subjektivierung in der Migrationsgesellschaft. Bielefeld: Transcript. S. 183-208. - Raffnsøe, Sverre/Gudmand-Høyer,Marius/Thaning, Morten S. (2016): Foucault’s dispositive: The perspicacity of dispositive analytics in organizational research. In: Organization. Vol. 23(2). pp. 272-298. - Zick, Andreas/Klein, Anna (2014): Fragile Mitte – Feindselige Zustände. Rechtsextreme Einstellungen in Deutschland 2014. Herausgegeben für die Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung von Ralf Melzer. Bonn: Dietz.
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