Antisocial behaviour and inequalities in Mexican schools

Posted on

13 December 2017, 1-2 pm (CMB Conference room 2.15)

Fernando Pantoja (Criminology, University of Edinburgh)


Antisocial behaviour and inequalities in Mexican schools

Inequality in Mexico has caused a social and spatial segmentation, in which social mobility is hard and the opportunities of individuals depend to a large extent on their social class. In this sense, although schools are meant to be places of social interaction where students develop social networks and learn to interact with other people outside their family, Mexican schools often serve as a mechanism of social segmentation, limiting the interaction with other social groups. What is more, schools in some of the most disadvantaged communities are no longer seen as a way to improve living conditions, and several studies have pointed out that some characteristics and factors that exist in these institutions are linked to other problems, including antisocial behaviour.

Despite the frequent use of the term ‘inequality’ in many fields, literature about crime and schools have focused mainly in the analysis and impact of poverty and deprivation and very little research has been carried out around how disparities within and between schools impact students. Moreover, although most people are aware of the role of school capital, inequalities in this context often refer only to disparities in economic wealth, leaving behind other issues such as social networks and cultural knowledge. Thus, using data from a national evaluation of the education system in Mexico, this research aims to analyse the relationship between inequality and antisocial behaviour in schools in Mexico. At the same time, it will intend to investigate the extent to which individual and structural inequalities impact on antisocial behaviour over and above poverty. This presentation will focus mainly on presenting some key factors that are necessary to understand the problem of antisocial behaviour in schools in Mexico, as well as some preliminary findings and the methodological approach that will be used to continue with this research.

Why do Swedes trust the State and Scots don’t?

Posted on

15 November 2017, 1-2 pm (CMB Conference room 2.15)

Ingela Naumann and Lindsay Paterson, University of Edinburgh


Why do Swedes trust the State and Scots don’t? An exploration of the religious foundations of state-citizens relations in modern welfare systems

In Scottish political debate, Scotland is often likened to the Nordic countries in its views about social justice. Yet social policy making in Scotland has followed ‘un-Nordic’ routes. An immediate explanation would be that Scotland, as part of the United Kingdom, is also part of its liberal welfare regime. This explanation may, however, be too simple. In this paper we explore how the Protestant traditions of Presbyterianism and Lutheranism have shaped state-church relations differently in Scotland and Sweden, resulting in different understandings of the role of the state and civil society in public welfare.

Until recently, the dominant understanding in comparative research was that religion mattered for the development of the welfare state in predominantly Catholic countries, but not for Protestant ones. There is now a growing body of historically oriented research that counters this view pointing not to the absence (or presence) of religion, but to the denominational differences of church-state relations as important explanations for variations in national social policy. In this paper we explore this question by comparing Scotland with Sweden, in relation to church, state authority and citizens.

The relative autonomy of Scotland following the Treaty of Union with England in 1707 has been attributed to institutions which were independent of the state and yet governed society locally. The autonomy was guaranteed by the independence of the Scottish Presbyterian Kirk from state intrusion. Scottish civil society was thus independent of the state because Calvinism Presbyterianism is theologically distant from the state. In this, the Scottish Presbyterian tradition differs fundamentally from Lutheranism. In Sweden state and church have been closely linked since King Gustav Vasa instigated the Church of Sweden in 1536 thereby separating it from the Catholic Church. In 1593 the Swedish Church and with it all the king’s subjects became Lutheran. The specific character of the church-state relation created the basis for the expectation in Swedish society that the state should be responsible for social welfare. While the religious influence of the Swedish Church faded throughout the 20th century, it was only in 2000 that the Church became officially separated from the State. Thus the Lutheran ‘two kingdom doctrine’ drew the church close to the state in secular matters, whereas its version in Scottish Calvinism kept the two quite separate from each other.

We draw on extensive scholarship since the 1980s about Scottish civil society and about church and state in Sweden to exemplify how Presbyterianism and Lutheranism, respectively, conditioned modern social policy debates in Scotland and Sweden. We look particularly at education as an example of the relation between state and church.

Programme for semester 1 (2017/2018)

Posted on

Welcome back to a new academic year!

We are a group of staff and doctoral students who meet several times a semester to discuss our research and current developments in education policy in an informal setting. Everyone is welcome to join the group or just come along to one of the presentations.

Here’s our programme for semester 1:


15 November 2017, 1-2 pm (CMB Conference room)

Why do Swedes trust the State and Scots don’t? An exploration of the religious foundations of state-citizens relations in modern welfare systems.

Ingela Naumann and Lindsay Paterson (Social Policy, University of Edinburgh)


13 December 2017, 1-2 pm (CMB Conference room)

Antisocial behaviour and inequalities in Mexican schools

Fernando Pantoja (Criminology, University of Edinburgh)


To be added to the group’s emailing list, please contact or

Suggestions for presentations for next semester are very welcome!


Best wishes,

Anna & Niko

The phantom national? Using an ‘assemblage analytic’ to understand national schooling reforms

Posted on

29 August 2017, 1-2 pm (CMB Conference room 2.15)

Dr Glenn C. Savage, University of Western Australia


The phantom national? Using an ‘assemblage analytic’ to understand national schooling reforms.

In this seminar, Dr. Glenn C. Savage will use the development of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) as an illustrative case to examine how national schooling reforms are being assembled in Australia’s federal system. Drawing upon an emerging body of research on ‘policy assemblages’ within the fields of policy sociology and anthropology, he will explore the ways that so-called ‘national reforms’ evolve from complex and uneven interactions between diverse policy ideas, practices, actors and organisations. He will argue that while reforms like the APST claim to be national in form and scope, ‘the national’ is better understood as a disjunctive and phantom-like assemblage of heterogeneous parts, which often reflect transnational traits and impulses

Glenn is a Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Education at the University of Western Australia. His current research examines how schooling policies in federal systems are mediated by transnational flows of policy ideas and practices. He currently holds an Australian Research Council ‘Discovery Early Career Researcher Award’ (DECRA) titled ‘National schooling reform and the reshaping of Australian federalism’ (2016-2019).

A Typology of Gendered Pipelines: reconfiguring the approach to researching gender (in)equality in academic/research careers and organizations

Posted on

24 May, 1-2 pm (CMB Conference room 2.15)

Farah Dubois-Shaik, Université Catholique de Louvain


A Typology of Gendered Pipelines: reconfiguring the approach to researching gender (in)equality in academic/research careers and organizations

Farah Dubois-Shaik & Bernard Fusulier

In this paper we propose a new Typology of Gendered Pipelines that provides a multi-level, multi-dimensional and comparative analytical framework of leaky pipelines and interrelated phenomena across six European countries and research institutions (Italy, Slovenia, Iceland, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands). Along with previous studies and with a number of contemporary European studies, the FP7 GARCIA project, researching academic and research careers and organizations, establishes that the moving away of women from the scientific or academic path, leading to higher positions does not happen so simply as one could imagine at first glance and that rather than adopting mono-causality, we have to take a more composite view of causes and effects when thinking about the “Leaky Pipeline” and other phenomena (Dubois-Shaik & Fusulier, 2016). Pipelines, in both policy and organizational discourse, are often seen as either career trajectories, or organizational career pathways that point to “leaks”, which are undeniably present in all our case-study institutions. However, in this paper we argue that we cannot simply adopt an approach of “filling the gaps” or of pointing the fingers at gatekeepers. Our various project results have fed the focus on the “leaky pipeline” by providing us with a rich multi-level perspective (gender and welfare regimes, comparative statistical organizational data, organizational culture, structures and governance, experiences of early researchers and academics); a multi-dimensional perspective (regimes, organizational systems, scientific fields, governing units, sex, gender, periods/stages of the career, work/life interference, relationships, power, cultures, contexts etc.); and a comparative perspective (across seven/six European countries, research institutions, SSH/STEM institutes, comparing women/men). This permits us to enlarge the research perspective to “Gendered Pipelines” rather than simply “leaky” pipelines. Through the case-study analyses, we have induced a typology of gendered pipelines, which present on the one hand three abstract ideal-type configurations as they may appear in various cases, allowing for a range of different imaged patterns, based on the circus metaphor that we argue is particularly suited to the academic/research environment. And secondly, these ideal-types are paired with three configurations of gendered career paths and organizations as they may appear in real case studies and through which organizations can identify their gender inequality practices. The aim of identifying these three types, induced from our real case-studies, is to better understand different natures of complex, multivariable, composite “leaky” pipelines; this composition would allow us to situate the different career paths and organizations, not in a scale of more or less “leaks” of women leaving the career, but rather in what is at stake for different levels of the gendered pipelines, in other words what costs are incurred on the level of the individual workers, the organization and science (Latour and Woolgar, 1986).

Elites and Expertise: The changing material production of knowledge for policy

Posted on

26 April, 1-2 pm (CMB Conference room 2.15)

Jenny Ozga, Professor Emeritus, Department of Education, Oxford & Honorary Professorial Fellow, School of Social and Political Science, Edinburgh.



The seminar draws on work in progress on the Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship ‘Governing Education: knowledge and policy in England and Scotland since 1986’. This study investigates the changing relationship between knowledge and policy, looking at the changing forms of knowledge available to policy actors and the effects of these changing knowledges (for example the growth of statistics, digital media and data) on the capacity of policy actors (including experts and elites) to govern education. The seminar compares the knowledge technologies and material processes available to policy elites and experts in the 1980s and in the contemporary context in England, assesses the impact of changes in the material production of knowledge on how elites and expertise are understood, and considers their implications for understanding knowledge-policy relationships.

Next presentations

Posted on

Upcoming presentations in the Education & Society research group:


26 April, 1-2 pm (CMB Conference room 2.15)

Jenny Ozga: Elites and Expertise: The changing material production of knowledge for policy


17 May, 1-2 pm (CMB Conference room 2.15)

Farah Dubois: Gendered University organizations and gender (in)equality in academic/research careers and work


The logic of the gaze: education, spectatorship and the art of aesthetic governing

Posted on

Wednesday, 15 March, 1-2 pm (CMB Conference room 2.15)

Sotiria Grek, senior lecturer in Social Policy


The logic of the gaze: education, spectatorship and the art of aesthetic governing

Using Sweden as a case study, the aim of this paper is to take a historical perspective in order to explore the ways in which national systems and their innovations were influenced, constructed and traded through the use of education comparisons. More specifically, the paper will explore education comparisons through ‘aesthetic governing’; this is a new concept we use in order to denote the governing of education through representation and visual means. Our starting point is that although a lot of scholarly work has placed emphasis on the role of numbers in the making of nations, we know less about the role of images and representations in the governing of education within the nation but also transnationally.

The paper draws on research originating in the project ‘From Paris to PISA: Governing Education by Comparison, 1867-2015’; it examines the role of the national in the emergence of a transnational education policy field, as exemplified in the making of the European and global education policy space. By focusing on Sweden, a country considered a leading education state for most of the 19th and 20th centuries, it aims to produce significant knowledge about the logics of comparison, its main actors and its techniques and effects. The title of the project alludes to two significant loci where international comparisons of school systems occurred: a physical one, Paris, as a host for several international exhibitions in the late 19th century, and, on the other hand, a symbolic policy space; that is the influential PISA-study carried out by OECD since 2000. Starting our investigation in Paris in 1867 and ending with PISA 2015, we trace significant changes in the role of international comparisons in educational policy-making. Within this timeframe, Sweden has always been in a fluid space of comparison, engaged in both internal and external policy learning and travel. Nevertheless, although most of literature in the field of education governance has so far focused on the role of numbers and data in the making of governing knowledge, this paper aims to explore a relatively ignored, yet crucial, aspect of how comparisons are made and communicated: that is, through the use of the image, either in the late 19th c.- early 20th century as the physical and ‘real’ space of the world exhibitions, or in the use of the first statistical representations, again in the exhibition space, of the 1930s, all the way to data visualisation techniques and the rise of big data of the early 21st century.

In order to explore the role of the visual in producing governing knowledge, the paper makes use of the concept of ‘diagrammatic thinking’ as discussed by the American pragmatist philosopher CS Peirce (1839-1914) and Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995), a prolific writer on philosophy, film, literature and fine art. Whereas Peirce described the diagram as ‘an aid to knowledge’ that works primarily through representation, the Deleuzian project disrupts this reading, and uses the concept of the diagram as constitutive of new realities. In the paper, I will show what this may mean in conceptualising aesthetic governing and the very different ways that the image has been used in producing governing knowledge historically and at present.

Comprehensive schooling and competing visions and rationalities in centre-left parties’ education policy

Posted on

Wednesday, 22 February, 1-2 pm (CMB Conference room 2.15)

Comprehensive schooling and competing visions and rationalities in centre-left parties’ education policy

Anna Pultar, PhD researcher in Social Policy

Comprehensive schooling has belonged to one of the most politicised issues in education policy in Europe. It is commonly presented as a partisan conflict between the political left favouring comprehensive schooling and the political right defending academic selection and grammar schools. On a closer look, however, there is considerable inconsistency in the ideas, discourses and practices within political parties across time and national contexts. The presentation will report findings from a PhD project on centre-left parties and their policy on comprehensive schooling in England and Austria. It focuses on the processes of policy-making within parties and aims to uncover the interplay of different individual actors and groups within the parties in shaping the party’s education policy. Individual actors frequently differ in their visions of what comprehensive schooling should look like and should lead to. There are, for instance, different understandings of equality, merit and choice in schooling, but also different views of the curriculum or the role of the state in education. However, actors disagree not only on the educational issues itself, but frequently on the political uses of education policy. Comprehensive schooling was frequently seen as either a political resource or as a potential risk in the pursuit of other party goals such as gaining legitimacy, votes, resources and political influence, and party cohesion. Yet rather than a straight-forward division between idealists and realists, the empirical analysis shows much variety of rationalities: actors were rarely pure pragmatists driven by the pursuit of power alone nor educational philosophers, solely driven by higher social ideals. I will illustrate different visions and rationalities in the struggles over comprehensive schooling with examples from interviews conducted in both countries.

Measuring Respect: can children’s social equality be expressed in policy?

Posted on

The next meeting of the research group will take place Wednesday, 18th of January, 2017, 1-2 pm in Conference Room 2.15, CMB

Philip Cook, lecturer in Political Theory, will discuss the development of a new research proprosal.


Philip Cook: Measuring Respect: can children’s social equality be expressed in policy?

Stigma, discrimination, and marginalisation stain our social relations. These stains may persist even if our societies become more equal materially. Social equality requires that individuals, groups, and social institutions treat all with respect, in addition to ensuring all receive equal shares of society’s goods. But our understanding of social equality is limited: our conception of respect is vague; our devices for promoting it crude; and our sense of who should be treated as social equals hazy. This project interrogates a pressing social problem that embodies these complexities: ‘can we measure the respect children experience in schools?’ The project aims to clarify our normative and empirical understanding of respect; to develop a feasible metric for respect that is philosophically and administratively robust; to probe the boundaries of social equality by challenging the current omission of children. The presentation will set out the rationale for the project and invite feedback on how it may be developed for future grant applications.

Back to top

© School of Social and Political Science 2017