Inequality, Education and Social Power: Transregional Perspectives
17–21 November 2014 in Berlin
Education is an – often ideologically charged – concept that has been the object of many expectations and at times also cause for disenchantment. It is sometimes thought of as the means of reducing structural inequalities within societies. Nevertheless, access to education itself can be distributed in unequal ways, contingent on the very structures it is supposed to even out. In that regard, education can function both as a corrective for structural inequalities and as a means of reinforcing them. Discourses and systems of education vary considerably within societies. In addition, they are interconnected with global developments and debates such as UNESCO programs or OECD studies, which are not necessarily articulated within local contexts. To start from a basic level, the very notion of education – that is, the question of which forms of knowledge are recognized as education and which are not – can be fundamentally contested. Therefore, the process that renders certain forms of knowledge education while excluding others needs to be problematized as an arena of (implicit) political or ideological struggle and as a way of wielding social power.
The winter academy and conference were chaired by a group of scholars that includes Ravi Ahuja (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen), Marianne Braig (Freie Universität Berlin/Forum), Andreas Eckert (Humboldt-Universität Berlin/Forum), Andreas Gestrich (German Historical Institute London), Indra Sengupta (German Historical Institute London), Patricio Solís (El Colegio de México), Jana Tschurenev (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen), and Hebe Vessuri (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México). As experts, they are involved in research projects and networks that address questions of inequality and education in different world regions (among others, desiguALdades.net and re:work). The winter academy was held in cooperation with the Max Weber Foundation Transnational Research Group “Poverty and Education in Modern India”.
The winter academy was part of the strategic cooperation between the Forum Transregionale Studien and the Max Weber Foundation – German Humanities Institutes Abroad. They are supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF).