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How tracking structures interethnic class group interactions: an ethnographic study of the educational system in Belgium

Lore Van Praag UGent, Simon Boone UGent, Peter Stevens UGent and Mieke Van Houtte UGent (2012) European Sociological Association : Diversity in Education: Issues of Equity and Social Cohesion, Abstracts.
abstract
The influence of ethnic school composition on interethnic interactions has been studied extensively and has received ample interest from policy makers. However, less attention has been paid to the structures and processes inside schools that organize interethnic interactions. In Flanders, secondary education, often referred to as a cascade system, is organized by grouping students in different tracks (academic, art, technical and vocational), which are hierarchically ordered and prepare students for different futures. Tracking in Flanders was originally intended to group students according to their abilities to facilitate teaching. However, a side effect of tracking appears to be that it segregates students along socio-economic and ethnic lines. In the present study, the interethnic interactions in each track will be explored, based on ethnographic observations and semi-structured interviews conducted in three multi-ethnic secondary schools in one city in Flanders (Belgium). Distinct patterns of interethnic interactions across tracks and fields of study were found. The observations and interviews in this study demonstrate how students’ habitus (Bourdieu, 1971) subtly structures interactions and leads to the formation of in- and out-groups along habitus lines. However, in- and out-groups interacted differently across tracks, suggesting the importance of track characteristics. The highest fields of study in academic tracks were characterized by co-existence, intermediary tracks by interethnic contact and vocational tracks by interethnic conflict. When relating these patterns to the field in which they occur, interethnic interactions seemed to be shaped by the relative sizes of ethnic groups in each class, and the societal appreciation, resources and future opportunities associated with each track. In sum, this study demonstrates the importance of track characteristics and ethnic class compositions to understand interethnic interactions in classes.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
conference
publication status
unpublished
subject
keyword
education, ethnicity, interaction, conflict, contact
in
European Sociological Association : Diversity in Education: Issues of Equity and Social Cohesion, Abstracts
conference name
European Sociological Association : Diversity in Education: Issues of Equity and Social Cohesion
conference location
Ghent, Belgium
conference start
2012-09-13
conference end
2012-09-14
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
C3
id
3022029
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-3022029
date created
2012-10-11 09:39:42
date last changed
2012-10-15 14:13:37
@inproceedings{3022029,
  abstract     = {The influence of ethnic school composition on interethnic interactions has been studied extensively and has received ample interest from policy makers. However, less attention has been paid to the structures and processes inside schools that organize interethnic interactions. In Flanders, secondary education, often referred to as a cascade system, is organized by grouping students in different tracks (academic, art, technical and vocational), which are hierarchically ordered and prepare students for different futures. Tracking in Flanders was originally intended to group students according to their abilities to facilitate teaching. However, a side effect of tracking appears to be that it segregates students along socio-economic and ethnic lines. In the present study, the interethnic interactions in each track will be explored, based on ethnographic observations and semi-structured interviews conducted in three multi-ethnic secondary schools in one city in Flanders (Belgium). Distinct patterns of interethnic interactions across tracks and fields of study were found. The observations and interviews in this study demonstrate how students{\textquoteright} habitus (Bourdieu, 1971) subtly structures interactions and leads to the formation of in- and out-groups along habitus lines. However, in- and out-groups interacted differently across tracks, suggesting the importance of track characteristics. The highest fields of study in academic tracks were characterized by co-existence, intermediary tracks by interethnic contact and vocational tracks by interethnic conflict. When relating these patterns to the field in which they occur, interethnic interactions seemed to be shaped by the relative sizes of ethnic groups in each class, and the societal appreciation, resources and future opportunities associated with each track. In sum, this study demonstrates the importance of track characteristics and ethnic class compositions to understand interethnic interactions in classes.},
  author       = {Van Praag, Lore and Boone, Simon and Stevens, Peter and Van Houtte, Mieke},
  booktitle    = {European Sociological Association : Diversity in Education: Issues of Equity and Social Cohesion, Abstracts},
  keyword      = {education,ethnicity,interaction,conflict,contact},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Ghent, Belgium},
  title        = {How tracking structures interethnic class group interactions: an ethnographic study of the educational system in Belgium},
  year         = {2012},
}

Chicago
Van Praag, Lore, Simon Boone, Peter Stevens, and Mieke Van Houtte. 2012. “How Tracking Structures Interethnic Class Group Interactions: An Ethnographic Study of the Educational System in Belgium.” In European Sociological Association : Diversity in Education: Issues of Equity and Social Cohesion, Abstracts.
APA
Van Praag, L., Boone, S., Stevens, P., & Van Houtte, M. (2012). How tracking structures interethnic class group interactions: an ethnographic study of the educational system in Belgium. European Sociological Association : Diversity in Education: Issues of Equity and Social Cohesion, Abstracts. Presented at the European Sociological Association : Diversity in Education: Issues of Equity and Social Cohesion.
Vancouver
1.
Van Praag L, Boone S, Stevens P, Van Houtte M. How tracking structures interethnic class group interactions: an ethnographic study of the educational system in Belgium. European Sociological Association : Diversity in Education: Issues of Equity and Social Cohesion, Abstracts. 2012.
MLA
Van Praag, Lore, Simon Boone, Peter Stevens, et al. “How Tracking Structures Interethnic Class Group Interactions: An Ethnographic Study of the Educational System in Belgium.” European Sociological Association : Diversity in Education: Issues of Equity and Social Cohesion, Abstracts. 2012. Print.