Practices of change in the education sector: Professionals dealing with ethnic school segregation

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This article looks at second-generation professionals in the education sector in Sweden, France and the Netherlands, whose parents were born in Turkey. In their stories, ethnic school segregation appears as an important topic that coincides with other inequalities in society and signals educational injustice. This so-called ‘wicked problem’ is used to understand how second-generation professionals assert influence in their quest for educational change.
The analysis, based on semi-structured interviews, shows that influence and change are conditional. Second-generation professionals are constrained by the structural boundaries of the sector, which seem particularly fixed because of the way in which the education sector is entangled with state policies. Simultaneously, they are aware of these boundaries, and of the nation-specific change-opportunities existing within them. Using their ‘in-betweenness’ as second-generation social climbers, with their knowledge of the education system, they apply varying practices of change focused on moderating the negative effects of ethnic school segregation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-263
Number of pages17
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number2 (Special Issue: The Upcoming New Elite)
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Second generation, professionals, education sector, ethnic school segregation, influence and change


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