11 SES 17, Leaving School: Impacts of social categories and power relations in reconstruction of educational biographies of adolescents in Iceland and Germany
This symposium analyses the educational biographies of 16-18 years old adolescents at the end or shortly after completing secondary school in Germany and Iceland. The research is done from different theoretical perspectives and through related empirical approaches (intersectionality, subjection, inequality).
The overall aim is to gain insights into the life worlds and school experiences of adolescents in Europe through the framework of educational biographical reconstruction processes (Krüger & Marotzki 2006) of the two countries. We are interested in the question of what it means to grow up in Europe under the given unequal social conditions, and to go through an education system. Especially, we focus on the meaning of social categories, such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation etc., in the life world and in the school life of adolescents.
The symposium is about assessing how young people perceive and order “their world” (normatively, strategically, morally, culturally, etc.), or how others structure and order the world for them. This means understanding how the adolescents view education, learning, school as a life world and as a place of discipline, as well as their advancement options. Therefore, it is both the educational biographical analysis in the narrower sense that is relevant here, as well as the adolescents’ social life situations (economic, social, cultural, health), the language(s) they speak and the normalization and subjection processes they undergo (e.g., in the positioning of students ’with migration background’). The three sub-projects also analyze processes of inclusion and exclusion, such as exposure to discrimination prejudice, and violence at school and beyond.
The central themes linking the three sub-projects are the educational biography analysis (Lutz et al. 2017), the identification of homologous biographical experiences, for instance in form of institutional discrimination (Gomolla/Radtke 2009), and how they are produced in Germany and in Iceland.Each sub-project’s data was independently collected and evaluated separately but then the emergent themes were synthesized into one coherent whole text. The education system is here considered a structurally crucial allocation mechanism for and in a social order, which contributes to the production and reproduction of social inequalities (Bourdieu/Passeron 1971). This does not only take place in decisive transition thresholds in the education system, but also in subtle and inconspicuous processes (hidden curriculum) of the daily school routine, which involve subjection and normalization effects. Under consideration of intersectional approaches (Hill, Collins & Bilge 2016), of culture and conflict theories (Willis 1981, Bourdieu 1994) and of subjection theories (Butler 2001; Rose 2016), experiences and processes of normalization and recognition are identified.
The questions concerning adolescents’ school and life worlds is discussed and analyzed in the symposium within the background of profound social change processes in Europe and worldwide. These include the transformation of work in the course of digitization and automation, leading to drastic changes in gainful employment and training, especially among young people (Jürgens et al. 2017). Also, the fact of increasing social inequality (Piketty 2017), the precariousness of life and work conditions in terms of employment relationships, housing, health, social security systems (especially since the 2008 financial crisis), the threat of climate change, as well as changes in migratory movements and related discourses, the resurgence of racism, nationalism and the retraditionalization of gender roles are considered relevant contexts.
- On the reconstruction of educational biographical interviews with male working-class youth after completing their school career (Udo Gerheim & Anke Spies)
- Subject positioning and othering along the category ‘with migration background’ - experiences of adolescents in everyday school life (Anja Steinbach & Anke Spies)
- Icelandic-born students of immigrant background: Links to heritage language and culture (Anh-Dao Tran, Hanna Ragnarsdottir & Samuel Lefever)
Alvaredo, Facundo/Chancel, Lucas/Piketty, Thomas/Saez, Emanuel/Zucman, Gabriel (eds.) (2017): World Inequality Report 2018. Executive Summary. World Inequality Lab. Bourdieu, Pierre (1994): Die Feinen Unterschiede. Kritik der gesellschaftlichen Urteilskraft. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp. Bourdieu, Pierre/Passeron, Jean-Claude (1971). Die Illusion der Chancengleichheit. Untersuchungen zur Soziologie des Bildungswesens am Beispiel Frankreich. Stuttgart: Klett. Butler, Judith (2001): Psyche der Macht - Das Subjekt der Unterwerfung. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp. Gomolla, Mechthild/Radtke, Frank-Olaf (2009): Institutionelle Diskriminierung. Die Herstellung ethnischer Differenz in der Schule. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. Hill Collins, Patricia / Bilge, Sirma (2016). Intersectionality (Key Concepts). Malden, MA: Polity Press. Jürgens, Kerstin/Hoffmann, Reiner/Schildmann, Christina (2017). Arbeit transformieren! Denkanstöße der Kommission ‚Arbeit der Zukunft'. Bielefeld: transcript. Krüger, Heinz-Hermann/Marotzki, Winfried (Hg.) (2006). Handbuch erziehungswissenschaftliche Biographieforschung. Wiesbaden: VS. Lutz, Helma/Schiebel, Martina/Tuider, Elisabeth (Hg.) (2017). Handbuch Biographieforschung. Wiesbaden: Springer. Piketty, Thomas (2014). Das Kapital im 21. Jahrhundert. München: Beck
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