By Jane-Frances Lobnibe (University for Development Studies, Tamale) and Jana Tschurenev (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)1
Report of the Winter Academy “Inequality, Education and Social Power: Transnational Perspectives”. The Winter Academy took place in Berlin, November 16-25, 2014 and was convened by the Forum Transregionale Studien and the Max Weber Stiftung – Deutsche Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute im Ausland.
An condensed version of the text is published via the online communication platform H-Soz-Kult.
Participants Winter Academy (Photo: Photo: Forum Transregionale Studien under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)
As the global economy slowly recovers from the 2008/9 recession, rising social inequality exacerbated by stagnating wages and unequal income distribution is emerging as a major concern of policy makers and national leaders in both the “developed” and “developing” worlds. This development has come about amid a fast changing knowledge economy, requiring specialized labor skills and high quality education to meet the challenges of this complex technological and interconnected world. To be sure, there is a widespread assumption that a panacea to the current predicament is an expanded equal access to quality education. However, as a public good and ideologically charged concept, education is often viewed as a means of and for social mobility and is set with high expectations. But education can also produce inequality and disenchantment in case some groups are denied or excluded from its benefits. The interdisciplinary Winter Academy and conference “Inequality, Education, and Social Power,” in Berlin explored this ambiguity from multiple perspectives. The seven-day event was convened by the Forum Transregionale Studien and the Max Weber Stiftung – Deutsche Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute im Ausland in Berlin in cooperation with the Max Weber Foundation’s Transnational Research Group (TRG) on “Poverty and Education”, the research network desiguALdades.net and the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung.
Since both authors participated in the same working group and to some extent also in the thematic discussion groups, this summary is necessarily a very selective one and cannot do justice to all the rich and inspiring presentations given within the winter academy and conference. [↩]
Jutta Allmendinger is President of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and Professor of Educational Sociology and Labor Market Research at the Humboldt University, Berlin. She recently published a discussion paper on „Social Inequalities in Europe: Facing the challenge“. In her interview with Gesche Schifferdecker she speaks about how we could overcome educational poverty, what our futural challenges are and why it is so difficult to discuss about education and inequality in a transregional context.
Six members of the Steering Committee have faced the difficult task of selecting 20 participants out of almost 100 applications for the International Winter Academy “Inequality, Education and Social Power: Transregional Perspectives”.
The selection process is now completed and you will soon find a list of selected candidates on this blog. The participants come from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. They have a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds, coming from such different fields as educational studies, sociology, cultural studies, social sciences, economics, development studies, anthropology, history as well as different area studies. The Steering Committee is very much looking forward to meeting this interesting group in Berlin in November 2014!
The International Winter Academy “Inequality, Education and Social Power: Transnational Perspectives” will take place in Berlin, from 16-25 November 2014 and addresses doctoral and postdoctoral researchers from the fields of economics, educational sciences, development studies, history, political science, postcolonial studies, sociology, and area studies.
The Winter Academy will be convened by the Forum Transregionale Studien and the Max Weber Foundation in cooperation with the Transnational Research Group “Poverty and Education in Modern India”.