Antisocial behaviour and inequalities in Mexican schools

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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.

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