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Title: Parents' and teachers' dispositions towards social class difference and mix : a qualitative case study in two socioeconomically diverse Chilean schools
Author: Mendoza Horvitz, Manuela Ji
ISNI:       0000 0004 9353 3905
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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The educational system in Chile is highly segregated in socioeconomic terms. This means that there is strong socioeconomic and academic heterogeneity across schools and a strong internal homogeneity within each of them. However, the country’s education system is undergoing an unusual process, resulting from the implementation of the 2015 educational reforms. Specifically, the so-called ‘Inclusion Law’ is an attempt to change this pattern through desegregation and the promotion of diverse school populations (school mix) in order to promote equity of opportunities and democratic learning amongst the students. However, no study has hitherto explored either the potential or the limitations for families and teachers of such diversity in Chilean schools. Studies addressing the possible effects of school mix on democratic learning argue that both inclusive and exclusionary dispositions may emerge depending on the form heterogeneity takes, particularly depending on the degree to which practices of mixing take place within a diverse school population. Complementing Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts (e.g. habitus, field, and capitals) with additional theoretical resources discussing disruption of the habitus and reflexivity, I draw on rich interviews with parents and school staff in order to understand their dispositions to social class difference. For this, I conducted a qualitative case study in two Chilean schools that had above-average levels of socioeconomic diversity prior to the implementation of the Inclusion Law, as a way to understand existing processes of school mix/mixing and the potentialities of the law. While both schools have a majority of middle-class students, I outline different discourses about diversity and inclusion across the two sites. The schools are located in different areas of Santiago, the capital of Chile: Rodriguez School (RS) in an established affluent locality and Inti School (IS) in a disadvantaged locality near a gentrified area. Based on the analysis, I argue that social class mix at RS and IS cannot be assumed to be a straightforward phenomenon, but one that entails ambivalent dispositions towards social class differences, suggesting that openness to such differences rests on the assumption that a baseline of sociocultural similarity is necessary. This is visible, with regard to the schools, through the teachers celebrating the existence of those differences and, at the same time, manifesting an assimilationist approach that fosters the inculcation of middle-class ways of behaving amongst working-class students and parents. With regard to the parents, the parent respondents express openness to engaging with difference, whilst at the same time defining boundaries to doing so. Also, such openness entails both collective and private principles. In the conclusions, I discuss the potentialities of these ambivalent dispositions towards social class difference for challenging or, on the other hand, reproducing social class segregation in Chile.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available