Increasing Reproduction of Territorial and Social Inequalities in Public Education in Hungary: Causes, Components, Practices and Mechanisms


In the lecture, I examine the development and reproduction of socio-spatial inequalities through the system of education, learning and training. I consciously approach phenomena from a "bottom-up" perspective as they become perceived by people and their communities getting in contact with educational institutions. In this vein, in my analysis spatial representations of the world economy, regional and national institutional frameworks, practices and local-regional social influences are closely intertwined with the everyday behaviour of certain actors in certain places. Findings of the presentation are based on my research pursued in Hungarian settlements in the past five years about the materialisation, causes and consequences of school selection and pupil segregation. I interpret institutional education as a large, bureaucratically organised system in which the state distributes services through designated regulatory authorities and mechanisms it controls and supervises, which consequently appear to users as "accessible services", but in different ways to individuals and groups in different situations. Applying the concept of Lefebvre's social space and the interpretation of Soja's spatiality, I distinguish between services universally available in principle and those actually available for different people with distinct socio-economic backgrounds. With this differentiated approach, I interpret the role of the state, local government and local elites in shaping the provision of education amidst increasing selection and segregation of pupils based primarily on their family background, socio-economic status and ethnicity.

Author Information
Gábor Dániel Velkey, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungary

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2020
Stream: Primary & Secondary Education

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon